This first section is quite easy - first part is on canal towpath.
The Great Glen Cycle Route runs from Fort William to Inverness. Fort William to Laggan is mostly easy. Much of it is on the Caledonian Canal Towpath and the towpath section is traffic free. Later parts of the route, north of Laggan, are very hilly, with long climbs and steep descents.
The final section to Inverness involves some road cycling. There is also a walking route, the Great Glen Way. Most of this is the same as the cycle route but a few parts are different and these are walking only.
The Great Glen forms the dividing line between the Northern Highlands and the Central Highlands.
The Great Glen watershed is only 35 metres above sea level. The Cycle Route climbs much higher than this, to over 300 metres at times.
The Caledonian Canal was designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1822. The spectacular scenery is unusual for a canal, particularly the massif of Ben Nevis, the highest hill in Scotland (1344m).
The summit is only four miles from the sea and the full sense of its height can be appreciated from the canal. It has the highest sheer cliff face in Britain (1500ft), and virtually the only semi-permanent snow patch.
Follow the A82 north out of Fort William, then turn west to the A830, signed Mallaig. This has a cycle path leading to the canal swingbridge at Banavie.
Turn right here, taking the towpath on the near (east) side of the canal. This passes Neptune's Staircase, the series of eight locks which enables the canal to climb from sea level to 64 feet. There may be pedestrians on the canal towpath so be considerate. There are a couple of gates on the towpath to keep sheep out, shut them behind you. The towpath section ends at Gairlochy. Don't cross the white bridge over the canal a mile before this.
Between Gairlochy and Clunes the route is on the B8005. This is a narrow road that runs near the loch shore most of the time - it's not flat like the canal towpath. You get intermittent views of the loch and the hills behind.