As an addition to your boating holiday, why not hire mountain bikes locally so that you may enjoy a different aspect of the Caledonian Canal? Bikes can be hired from the very helpful Nevis Cycles in Fort William, who can also deliver them to our base at Laggan for you.
Of course, cycling enthusiasts may prefer to bring their own bikes, but whether you hire bikes or bring your own we guarantee you will not be disappointed with the experience.
For those who may not be very athletic, or who cycle with children, there are the flat, easy sections of towpath that run alongside the canal. These are between Inverness and Dochgarroch Locks and from Fort Augustus to Cullochy Locks, via Kytra Lock.
Slightly more challenging is the quiet road from Banavie Top Lock to Gairlochy, a beautiful winding road covering about seven miles.
From Gairlochy to the West Highland Sailing base at Laggan Locks there is a short road section and then gravelled forestry road. This part of the route has some moderate hills but is quite within the capabilities of anyone of average fitness. Bear in mind that there are no facilities of any kind, so take sufficient energy bars and water to keep you going. Here the track runs alongside Loch Lochy and it is quiet and scenic, sometimes in the open offering extensive views and then winding through the forest.
If you feel like a ride that offers more of a challenge, then try the section between Laggan Locks and Aberchalder. Although only just over eight miles, there is a climb out of Invergarry that will have you reaching for the granny gears!
The longest and most demanding route is between Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit. This is mostly off-road and has some long and steep climbs and descents, but is enormous fun for more serious cyclists. Once again, because of the absence of facilities, ensure that you have enough supplies with you so that you don’t run out of energy. Also, some basic tools and a puncture repair kit should be carried by one of the party.
The Great Glen Cycle Route offers some of the best off-road cycling that you can experience in Britain and is a wonderful accompaniment to your boating holiday in Scotland.