Drumnadrochit to Inverness


Floral display in the centre of Drumnadrochit

From Drumnadrochit the Way follows the main road north east out of Urquhart Bay and onto the shore of the main loch. It does not remain at this level for long before it climbs into woodland to the north and west. This section now leaves the Great Glen only to rejoin it at the very end in the City of Inverness.

This section is perhaps the most varied of all, with further ascent and descent and a mixture of farmland, moorland and forestry.

The Way starts off by the footpath on the A82 Inverness Road for just under 2 miles before reaching Tychat. The way now takes to a path to the west of the roadway passing along the side of farm tracks until it starts to climb towards the forest.

Looking back to the south there are interesting views over Urquhart Bay to Urquhart Castle, standing proudly at the side of Loch Ness.

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle from Tychat

Woods at Tychat

Pathway leading into woods at Tychat

The way is now through Forest Enterprise woodland climbing all the way before emerging onto a wide and well made up forest road.

The route passes between Meall na h-Eilrig and Carn na Leitire. At this point the way enters the Abriachan Forest. This is a community forest purchased in 1998 and is thought to be one of the biggest community owned woodlands in the UK.

The route starts to decend near to Achpopuli and from here it is a straight forest track till reaching the a minor road leading east to Abriachan. The way passes across the road into a further forest section which shortly arrives at a gate leading onto the Abriachan to Blackfold road.

The next four miles to Blackfold are on a single track road, first in woodland then over open moorland some 900 feet above sea level. This area can be exposed and mist is likely to sometimes hide the view.


Way exits from path behind gate onto the Abriachan to Blackfold road

Craig Leach

Craig Leach Forest pathway

Blackfold is no more that two or three houses, but it is at one of them that the Way turn to the left and into Craig Leach forest.

This forest has several paths but the Way is clearly marked and heads generally in a north easterly direction. As the way starts to slowly descend the view to the north is over the Beauly Firth.

Two pylon lines cross the path close together followed shortly by a further pylon line on its own. At this point there is a junction on the track and the way turns to the right and round the south and east sides of a small pond/loch. Follow the path as it soon descends into the grounds of Craig Dunain NHS Hospital on the outskirts of Inverness.

As the route exits the grounds turn right down a tarred roadway before taking to a country path descending into Inverness from the west.

Craig Dunain

Craig Dunain Hospital Corner

Inverness housing

Way passes down a grass strip between houses on the outskirts of Inverness

The route is again well signposted with the official waymarked signs leading through a housing area, under a main road, round the edge of a golf course before meeting the Caledonian Canal.

The Way now walks along the towpath, away from its entry into the Beauly and Moray Firths, until it reaches Tomnahurich Swing Bridge.

At the Tomnahurich Bridge the walk leaves the Caledonian Canal and heads for the River Ness through extensive recreational grounds. The way now requires to cross the River Ness and this is achieved by pedestrian bridges and pathways across the Ness Islands.

Canal boat

Caledonian Canal looking east to Tomnahurich Swing Bridge

Ness Islands

Ness Islands

Having exited onto the eastern bank of the Ness the end of the way is almost in sight. With the river on the left the path takes you past residential homes and a number of small hotels and B&B's. On the opposite side of the river stands St Andrew's Cathedral, the Castle now visible on the bank above and to the right.

Castle 1

Inverness Castle from the River Ness

Inverness Castle - the end of the Way

Castle 2

The castle which is now used as a court house is relatively recent having been built in the 1830's. It is however on the site of a much earlier castle thought to have been on this mount at the time of King David I (1160's). This was further fortified then partially distroyed by Robert I, then rebuilt in the 15th century. In 1746 it was again captured and distroyed by Prince Charles Edward Stewart.

On reaching the Castle the walk is concluded at a marker point that was officially unvailed by HRH Prince Andrew in April 2002.


Muirtown Locks and Basin with the Kessock Bridge in the background

For some the Great Glen Way is only truly completed when they have reached the end of the Caledonian Canal as it emerges into the Beauly Firth at Clachnaharry. If there is time it is worth a trip over to the Muirtown Basin and to see the final sea lock beyond the railway crossing. Here at Muirston one can see that although the Great Glen is now very much a leisure asset, in the time of its building by Thomas Telford it was very much developed for commercial purposes.

To progress to the next section on walking data click here.

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