This is an adventurous and challenging 81 mile walk through remote and impressive mountains in the north-west Highlands. Starting in Inverness, the route takes you by Loch Ness, Glen Urquhart, Glen Affric and Kintail before finishing in the small village of Glenelg on the west coast. Large stands of the ancient Caledonian pine forest have survived in Glen Affric, and these along with the lochs and rugged mountains make the glen one of the most beautiful in Scotland. We have arranged this route for guided groups for many years, but have been arranging it for self-guided since 2002. In recent years, the middle section of the walk (from Drumnadrochit to Morvich in Kintail) has been signed-posted as the 'Affric Kintail Way', and if you prefer to just walk this you don't need to start in Inverness or have the last night in Glenelg. COVID-19 update: accommodation is limited in some villages and gets booked up, so if you are thinking of coming to Scotland to do this hike in 2021 please contact well in advance, so we can be sure to be able to arrange everything, thanks. The prices below are approximate, as there are options to stay in B&Bs or hotels in some of the villages.
|Description||Price per person|
|Glen Affric A||Drumndrochit||Glenelg||6||Classic walk through a beautiful glen and remote mountains||£655|
|Glen Affric B||Drumndrochit||Kintail||5||finish in Kintail - The 'Affric-Kintail Way'||£575|
|Glen Affric D||Cannich||Kintail||4||Start Cannich, finish Kintail||£425|
Day 1. Arrive in the village of Drumnadrochit, about 15 miles south of Inverness. If you arrive in Drummadrochit early in the day this will give time to visit Castle Urquhart, over-looking Loch Ness. Drumnadrochit is also home to the Loch Ness Monster industry, with two exhibitions and various research projects based in the village.
Day 2. Starts with a steep walk up to the site of an ancient Pictish fort. Then continue through woodlands to the pre-historic burial cairn at Corrimony, before the last stage of the day's walk to the small village of Cannich (14 miles).
Day 3. Today you enter Glen Affric, and make your way west through the ancient pine and birch forests around Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin to Affric Lodge (13 miles).
Day 4. Today's walk starts with a walk along the shores of Loch Affric. As you travel west, the landscape opens to give views of Beinn Fhada and the Kintail mountains beyond. Overnight at the remote Alltbeithe hostel*. (10 miles).
Day 5. A short walk up to the east-west watershed, and then you begin to descend to Glen Lichd via a narrow mountain pass between the Kintail peaks. The final few miles follow the River Croe down to the salt water of Loch Duich at the village of Morvich in Kintail (12 miles).
Day 6. From sea level at Kintail, the day starts with a 1500 foot ascent over a mountain pass, from where you descend into a secluded glen before the final few miles to the quiet west coast village of Glenelg (12 miles).
*Due to the remote location of the hostel, we cannot provide baggage transfer on this day, so you need to carry in your toothbrush and other essentials in your rucksack. These essentials include a sleeping bag, and your food for a evening meal and breakfast (the hostel has a good kitchen and gas for cooking). The hostel is grade 3 so a bit basic compared to most, but much improved on what it used to be.
Prices are based on two people sharing, in good B&B's and guest houses and include cooked breakfasts (except at the hostel where you have to cook your own breakfast and evening meals). We book ensuite rooms where possible (usually everywhere except the hostel, where accommodation is can be in male/female dormitories, if we are unable to book one of the twin rooms in the hostel). Accommodation is based in good B&Bs and guest houses in Inverness, Drumnadrochit and Cannich. After the night at the hostel, We book you into the hotel in Kintail and the Inn in Glenelg. However if you are on a budget we can usually book B&Bs in Kintail and Glenelg instead of the hotel and inn.
Terrain - Mostly forest roads, hill tracks and mountain paths which are very easy to follow, but there are two short sections of rough ground where map reading skills are essential. The route takes you through remote country, so this walk is for experienced and fit hikers only.
Route guidance - we provide detailed written descriptions (in English) of each section, and a map covering the whole route.
Extra nights - it is possible to have extra nights in any of the villages; Drumnadrochit for visiting Urquhart Castle and Nessie hunting; Cannich is a good base for hiring a mountain bike to explore Guisachan in Strathglass and the nearby Falls of Plodda; Glen Affric hostel is basic but the best base if you want climb remote mountains like Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and Carn Eige; an extra night in Kintail allows for a visit to the nearby Eilean Donan Castle and Kyle of Lochalsh; and Glenelg is a good place if you want to watch otters on the beach, or just have a quiet time. Extra nights usually cost from £40 per person per night in the B&Bs in Drumnadrochit, or usually from GBP70-80 per person at the hotel and Inn in Glenelg.
Fewer nights - if you don't have a week, it is possible to start the walk in Cannich and/or finish in Kintail. If you are interested, contact us for prices and more information.
Dates - as Spring can start a week or two later in the north-west Highlands than further south, we do not recommend you plan to walk this route until late April or very early May. Note also that the hostel usually closes for the winter in the third week of September so the last date for starting this hike through Glen Affric is mid September. Due to limited accommodation in a number of the villages, it is essential to book this hike well in advance - ideally in October or November of the year before you want to hike.
Start: Bus/train from Edinburgh/Glasgow to Inverness (4 hours). Inverness airport lost its direct flights from London Heathrow, but it is still possible to fly direct from Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London Gatwick. Easyjet operate one flight a day to Inverness from Luton, which has cheap flights from many European cities including Amsterdam, Geneva and Zurich.