- Location: Great Glen
- Starting Point: Carpark at Neptunes Staircase, Banavie
- Trail Length: 26mls/40kms
- Time Required: 3.5hrs
- Route Type:
- Family / Recreational
- Grade: Easy
- O.S. Map: Landranger sheet 41 Ben Nevis
- Parking: As start
This route uses the first six miles of the Caledonian Canal. Start from the car park by the Moorings Hotel and follow the towpath up the right hand side of the canal passing the 8 locks of the impressive Neptune’s Staircase. Don’t forget to look over to your right for those views of Ben Nevis!
After 6 miles you arrive at the hamlet of Gairlochy. Turn left across the Canal Bridge. Almost immediately you take the right fork signed Great Glen Way/Cycle Route. The B8005 is a winding singletrack road along the side of Loch Lochy. At the row of wooden houses which is the hamlet of Clunes the road swings round to the left along “the Dark Mile” – a wooded valley steeped in history.
Pause to enjoy the spectacular Chiaaig Waterfall. There is also the opportunity to climb up to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Cave. Take care – it can be slippery.
Next turn left, cross the wooden bridge. Turn left again and on to the Clan Cameron Museum at Achnacarry. This is a delightful collection of Highland artefacts housed in a traditional blackhouse.
Back now on the estate road to rejoin the B8005. Where you retrace your route to the B8004. Return to Fort William by this quiet winding backroad. There are so many lovely spots to picnic it is difficult to point out any particular one. As you near Fort William perhaps the An Cran Restaurant in the old barn will be open for supper! Follow the B8004 to the Banavie car park.