This tour takes us south of Inverness into Strathspey and Badenoch, before crossing the country westwards into Lochaber at Spean Bridge and then up the Great Glen – returning to Inverness along the banks of world-famous Loch Ness. Even if we don’t see the monster, this is a trip with lots to see.
In Strath Spey, we’ll see the environmentally-important remnants of the great Caledonian Pine Forest. This is echoed in place names, such as Kingussie – from the Gaelic ‘Ceann a’ Ghiùthsaich’ – or ‘head of the pine forest‘. Crossing to the west along Loch Laggan-side and in between the two mountain ranges of the Cairngorms – the ‘Monadh Liath’ – the ‘grey mountains‘, and the ‘Monadh Ruadh’ – the ‘red mountains‘. The different colours reflect the differing geology.
Along the way we’ll pass the iconic ‘commando monument’ – dedicated to the famous world war 2 commando units, who trained in this rugged and challenging mountain environment, from their base at Achnacarry Castle. However, long before WWII this area had seen perhaps more than its fair share of battle and conflict – again, leaving its mark in story and music.
This route then follows the Caledonian Canal towards Fort Augustus and then takes us up the south-east side of Loch Ness – by far the quieter and more relaxed option. Almost the last section of the route runs right by the lochside – with plenty of opportunity to stop and take a long close look at the loch itself – you never know what you might see! This is a temperamental stretch of water – it can be flat calm and peaceful, or grey and stormy as the wind gets funnelled between the steep sides of the glen.