Pioneered by Kevin Langan, the East Highland Way provides a connecting link between Scotland’s long established trails: the West Highland and Great Glen Ways in the west and the Speyside Way and Moray Coastal Trail in the north east. This route will take you through some of Scotland’s most beautiful and unspoilt scenery: through Highland Glens (Spean, Banchor and Badenoch) and on the shores of rivers and lochs, to reach the mighty Cairngorm Mountains at Aviemore.
From the centre of Fort William the route joins the cycle track to the Nevis Range Gondola and winds through the Glen Spean forests, heading eastwards. From Spean Bridge the Way follows the River Spean, passing near Laggan Dam, Moy Reservoir, Loch Laggan and Ardverikie House which was the setting of the famous ‘Monarch of the Glen’ TV series. The eastern edge of Loch Laggan is home to the largest inland fresh water beach in Europe, with stunning views west to the Munro’s bounding Loch Treig.
From Laggan village traverse uninhabited Glen Banchor, passing the remains of dwellings wiped out during the Highland Clearances. At Kingussie, pause to visit the imposing ruin of Ruthven Barracks, before joining the way-marked Badenoch Way to the quiet village of Kincraig. The route continues through the forest, arriving at Loch an Eilein with its famous ‘Island Castle’, said to be the stronghold of the infamous ‘Wolf of Badenoch’, before continuing through Rothiemurcas Forest to arrive at the bustling village of Aviemore in the heart of the beautiful Cairngorm National Park.
The route mostly follows paths and forest trails, with some road walking near Spean Bridge and Laggan. It is way-marked only through the Badenoch Way around Insh marshes. Suitable for walkers of average fitness, the East Highland Way will take you on a journey passing the abundant archaeology, history and wildlife of this magical area of Scotland.
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Suggested Itinerary – Click each day to expand.
Fort William is one of the most accessible destinations in the Highlands, with good road and rail links to Glasgow and even an overnight sleeper direct from London.
Depart Fort William by the North Road to continue down the flank of Ben Nevis and through birch woods over the Allt a'Mhuillin. Continue through mixed woodland through cattle pasture before ascending towards forestry plantations with footpaths signed 'Spean Bridge Circular Path' and descend to reach Spean Bridge village centre.
From the railway station in Spean take the track heading downhill (signed Spean Bridge Circular Path) on to open farmland backed by views of Stob Coire Gaibhre and Cruach Innse and follow the River Spean to eventually crossing the Allt Leachdach on a wooden bridge. Pass through lovely mixed woodland and open farmland with views of Beinn Chlianaig before reaching the lone cottage at Inshwood where the track climbs to woodland to continue on to Monessie Gorge and on past he remains of the crofts at Achnacochine before reaching Inverlair House, (where Rudolf Hess was briefly incarcerated following his flight to Scotland during the 2nd World War) and continue to the right along the road to Fersit to reach the Hostel at Tulloch Station.
Begin by taking the 3.5km walk back to re-join the route at Inverlair and continue towards Fersit. With views to Stob Coire Sgriodain and Chno Dearg the track passes into the dense forestry to eventually reach the bridge over the Allt Loraidh, and descends over the twisting Abhainn Ghuilbinn to reach Luiblea. Enjoy wonderful views over the river to Beinn a'Chaorainn and a final view of the Grey Corries before reaching the western end of Loch Laggan and on along the south shore to continue uphill through woods and alongside the River Pattack eventually meeting the A86 road at Feagour. This is the end of the stage however as there are no facilities, a pre-arranged pick-up will take you to your B&B at Laggan before returning the next day.
Re-join the route at Feagour following blue arrows for the Blackwood Walk. Follow the waymarked path up through the trees to continue and find the remains of the fort that dates from the Pictish period. A junction is reached signed Spey Dam where the track descends with views ahead to the outliers of the Monadhliath Mountains before a short section of military road to reach the bridge over the Spey. Follow the road east alongside the River Spey (Scotland's fastest flowing river) before continuing past the farm at Blargie. The easy road walk to Laggan is delightful with good views ahead and back to Black Craig. From Laggan, climb gently into the remote moorland of Strath an Eilich where you are surrounded by hills, passing Dalnashallag Bothy before following the river to descend towards Newtonmore where there are plenty of accommodation options and facilities. The route has several river crossings in Glen Banchor; these become impassable when in spate. Walk along the A86 passing the church and after 1.5km reach the Laggan Country Hotel to take sign for Balgowan and uphill on to the ruined croft at Lagbuidhe. Head through Strath an Eilich eventually passing the stalker's bothy at Dalnashallag. It is usually best to keep on the slightly higher ground above the water as the going can be very heavy in places. Follow the River Calder downstream to cross the outflow of the Allt Balloch and take the path down Glen Banchor with forestry plantation ahead on track past ruins and on over Dalchurn Bridge on to Glen Road towards Newtonmore.
This stage of the East Highland Way heads from the town of Newtonmore via moorland and Loch Gynack to reach Kingussie, capital of Badenoch. The route then crosses the Insh Marshes - a stunning place for birdwatchers - before visiting Loch Insh en route to Kincraig. Today the track leads past the impressive ruins of Ruthven Barracks, built in 1719 after the first Jacobite uprising and commands a grand view over the countryside. Thereafter take the Badenoch Way footpath past Insh Marshes and the foaming River to the hamlets of Drumguish and Inveruglas. Continue on the shores of Loch Insh and then road to complete the section at the village of Kincraig.
The last section of the East Highland Way passes the impressive sculptures of Frank Bruce before heading through the Inshriach Nature Reserve en route to picturesque Loch an Eilein. The magnificent Caledonian Pines of Rothiemurchus are a final highlight before journey's end is reached at Aviemore. From Kincraig pass Insh Church and continue along the public footpath to Feshiebridgebefore heading grassy track and woods to follow the road over the bridge at the River Feshie. Continue to pass Drake's Bothy - an open shelter which may be of use in an emergency along the main path to Allt Coire Follais, which may require a paddle to cross (there is no bridge). Continue along the south side of Loch Gamha and onto a tarmac road before passing the north of lily-covered Lochan Mor, with distant glimpses of the Cairngorms before emerging onto a track at Inverdruie where the Rothiemurchus estate cafe and visitor centre are available. Take a minor to pass beneath the railway line and emerge on the main road in Aviemore for this the final destination of the East Highland Way.
Congratulations - you have completed the The East Highland Way! After breakfast, it is time to set off on your onward journey.
Fixed Price - £595 per person
Single supplement - On request
Due to the remoteness of this route, there is relatively small variety of accommodation and therefore fewer options to select your own preferences. It is possible to spend a second overnight at Laggan, splitting the stage from Feagour to Newtonmore there. The stages are shown in the table below. If you don’t require overnight stays at the start and end of the walk, simply let us know at the time of booking. You can also stay an extra night at any point on the route. Explain any changes you require in the Comments section of the Enquiry Form. We will recalculate the price of your holiday based on the changes you make and will confirm the price before any payment is requested. The final amount you pay may be lower or higher than our Fixed Price, depending on the options you choose. Contact us if you have questions not answered in the FAQ.
|Stages and Distances|
|12 miles - 19 km|
|12 miles - 19 km|
|21 miles - 34 km|
|5 miles - 8 km|
|10 miles - 16 km|
|15.5 miles - 25 km|
|10.5 miles - 17 km|
|* Transfer to accommodation from Feagour|
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