TRANSCOTLAND Self-guided Walking Holidays

Glen Affric 2019

Glen Affric 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.

Route Start Finish No. of
Description Price per person
Glen Affric A Inverness Glenelg 7 Classic walk through a beautiful glen and remote mountains 635
Glen Affric B Drumndrochit Glenelg 6 Start in Drumnadrochit, so avoids the long first day 555
Glen Affric C Drumnadrochit Kintail 5 The 'Affric-Kintail Way' 455
Glen Affric D Cannich Kintail 4 Start Cannich, finish Kintail 395

Version A:

The River NessDay 1. Arrive in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. Inverness is an attractive city, on the banks of the fast flowing River Ness. Inverness is small for a city, but it is a popular base for exploring the northern Highlands.

Castle Urquhart on Loch NessDay2. Two options today: walk to Drumnadrochit by re-tracing the route of the last day of the Great Glen Way (19 miles); or if you prefer you can take a cruise down the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness to Drumnadrochit, which allows time to visit Urquhart Castle. Drumnadrochit is also home to the Loch Ness Monster industry, with two exhibitions and various research projects based in the village.

Loch Ness from above DrumnadrochitDay 3. 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).

Loch AffricDay 4. 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). As there is no accommodation at Affric Lodge, we arrange transport to take you back for a second night in Cannich.

Glen Affric and the Kintail mountains to the westDay 5. After transport from Cannich back to Affric Lodge, 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).

approaching KintailDay 6. 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).

GlenelgDay 7. 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).

Version B is the same as above except that the first night is in Drumnadrochit (so you don't walk the first day from Inverness to Drumnadrochit).

NOTES: map
*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). The price includes the transport back from Affric Lodge to Cannich and back to Affric Lodge the next day. 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 OS 1:50,000 maps 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.

Travel information:

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.

Finish: Apart from the Community ferry to Kylesku on the Isle of Skye, Glenelg is not well served by public transport. There is a bus from the village most weekday mornings over the hill to Kintail and onto Kyle of Lochalsh, but if the bus is not running the only oprion is a taxi. (about 20 to Shiel Bridge in Kintail from where the it is possible to take Citylink buses either back to Inverness, south to Fort William and Edinburgh/Glasgow, or north to Portee on Skye.

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