LN360° The Joining of Two Great Scottish Trails | Loch Ness 360° Trail

The Loch Ness 360° Trail is a long-distance walking and cycling route, developed by Visit Inverness Loch Ness. To create this epic route, which loops around the whole of Loch Ness, we joined two great Scottish trails together. Here’s the story so far …

2002 … The Great Glen Way is launched

The first of these trails is the Great Glen Way. A long-distance path, which opened in 2002 and is maintained by the Great Glen Ways Partnership (The Highland Council, Scottish Canals and Forestry Commission Scotland). 79 miles / 127 km in total, it follows the Great Glen, from Inverness to Fort William via Fort Augustus, on the northern side of Loch Ness.  Taking 4-7 days to complete, the route is mainly low-level, yet challenging in sections. It quickly became popular with walkers and cyclists and is one of Scottish Natural Heritage’s Great Trails.

Cyclist passing The Viewpoint sculpture on the Great Glen Way high route

2011 … We introduce The South Loch Ness Trail

Next came the South Loch Ness Trail in 2011. Visit Inverness Loch Ness developed this trail, reaching from Loch Tarff to Inverness. The path is 36 miles / 58 km long and follows the wilder, more unspoilt south side of the loch, with varied scenery and superb views down onto the famous waters.  

Walker on the South Loch Ness Trail between Whitebridge and Foyers

2018 … The two trails form The Loch Ness 360° Trail

At this point, there was the Great Glen Way starting in Inverness and passing through Fort Augustus on the way to Fort William. And the South Loch Ness Trail, which started in Loch Tarff, just above Fort Augustus and went up to Inverness. So, there was just one additional path needed to connect Fort Augustus and Loch Tarff. This would allow walkers to leave the Great Glen Way at Fort Augustus, and continue along the South Loch Ness Trail back to Inverness. Thus creating a full loop around the world-famous Loch Ness. What a great idea!

In 2018, Visit Inverness Loch Ness opened a final section of path, linking Loch Ness’s two spectacular trails together. We called this new complete loop, starting and ending in Inverness, the Loch Ness 360° Trail. Split into six recommended sections, walkers can do the whole loop over six days, one section per day. Cyclists may be able to complete two sections per day.

Loch Tarff on the South Loch Ness Trail in summer

2022 … Loch Ness Challenge coming soon

The latest chapter in our story, is the launch of our exciting new sporting event. Happening for the first time this spring, the Loch Ness Challenge is a three-day festival of running and cycling, which offers the choice of:

1. Running three marathons over three days around the whole of Loch Ness. (Or, running one or two of the marathons).

2. Runnning an ultra marathon around the full 129km of the trail. 

3. Cycling the full trail in the mountain bike challenge.

The challenges will test participants’ strength and stamina. Most the trail is off road on a mixture of built trail, rough tracks and forest paths. The event takes place between Friday 20th and Sunday 22nd May 2022. If you’re interested in entering, you can find out more here.

Man running along the Loch Ness Trail in winter

That’s The Story So Far …

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