- Location: Great Glen
- Starting Point: Neptunes Staircase Car Park Banavie
- Trail Length: 24mls/38kms
- Time Required: 4.5hrs
- Route Type:
- Family / Recreational
- Grade: Easy
- O.S. Map: Landranger sheet 41 Ben Nevis
- Parking: Neptunes Staircase Car Park Banavie
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 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 right as you leave the Canal towpath. You ride along the bank of the River Spean a short distance before you pass the Mucomir Power Station.
The braes of Lochaber are bonny here even though it means a little bit of uphill work. At the Commando Memorial pause to enjoy the view of the hills before you freewheel down to the café in Spean Bridge. Well refreshed you cycle for 1 km. to the sign for Kilmonivaig where you turn down to the right. After about 1 km. stop at the cairn and walk down to Highbridge. This bridge - now a spectacular ruin – is the site where the first shots of the 1745 Jacobite uprising were fired. Although this is a minor back road you can enjoy the grand scale of the Great Glen and the River Lochy.
At Tomacharich turn off road on the farm track for about 3 kms. This detour means that you avoid most of the busy A82 as you near Fort William. Turn right to join the A82 and at the traffic lights straight ahead for Fort William or right along the Mallaig road back to Banavie.