Transport Scotland have announced completion of the Great Glen cycleway, part of Route 78. The path provides a new, safe, cycle route connecting Inverness with Fort William alongside Loch Ness. The building project was to create a safer alternative to riding on the busy A82 route where traffic is heavy and the risk of accidents high.
The new Cycle Network Route is the last leg of the so-called Caledonia Way, part of route 78. As you'd expect from cycling is this area of the Highlands, the route is particularly scenic with views across Loch Ness and others.
The route from Fort William or Inverness alongside Loch Ness is already a popular route with cyclists. The whole route from point to point is approximately 66 miles, but clearly shorter routes are possible. It is possible, for example, to complete a loop of Loch Ness from Inverness via Fort Augustus although to make it a loop would require the cyclist to again use the A82 on the West lochside which is not recommended. The new route is called the Great Glen Way and supported by Sustrans.
The full .GPX map for this cycle route from Fort William to Inverness is below. Some sections are on roads but the vast majority of these are quiet and far less busy roads than the A82 which is avoided.
The National Director for Scotland at Sustran's, John Lauder has said quite rightly that "The Great Glen Cycleway showcases some of Scotland's finest scenery." In several sections the route is shared between cyclists and walkers and care will be needed on some of these busier sections but the completion of the route is major step forward for cycling in the Highlands.
Overall, last year 120 million journeys were recorded on the National Cycle Network across the UK, and the continued investment in Scotland is planned. This is now the 20th year of the National Cycle Network and with the continued development makes it an exciting time and can only lead to cycling being safer and more enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities.
The GPX track for the next completed route is below. Download this cycle route to your cycle computer to be able to follow Route 78 via GPS route. The GPX route can also be uploaded to your phone to several different apps that are designed for cyclists and walkers.