Then, down again on a whole lotta bog. Cape Wrath lighthouse. The Cape Wrath Trail is a long distance walk from Fort William to the northwesternmost point of mainland Britain, Cape Wrath. The Cape Wrath Trail doesn’t exceed 750 metres of elevation at any point – but you’re not in for an easy ride. We started off the day by hitch hiking to Craig. In bad weather, it can be unforgiving. With the right planning, training and a huge amount of commitment, it is also doable and enjoyable as a trip of a lifetime. We're glad we did, even though we couldn't quite finish the whole thing in our time allowed. Here is exactly how we did it with (mostly) public transport walk from Fort William all the way to Cape Wrath. Still, we think it's worth it for the challenge. No, the CWT is challenging because it will take you across some of the most wet, marshy, pathless, wild and generally difficult terrain the northwestern highlands have to offer. There's not one perfect way to get to and from the trail. You should be comfortable with long days on the hills, exposed to the elements and with very little shelter. You can connect the two endpoints by hiking over any trails you want, even hiking cross-country or a mix, if it suits you. Note - all times and distances are estimates based on our actual experiences (ie, when we got lost). The Cape Wrath Trail is a non-trivial expedition through the wildest country remaining in the British Isles and it does need to be approached with a modicum of respect. Sign up to receive the very best of OS and its group of companies, straight to you by email. This is the southern section of our Cape Wrath Trail. see more about how he took it on twice - in 2015 and 2016 on his blog. This was a godsend - the end of the day was easy walking to Stack Lodge. The next section of trail was quite pleasant, if boggy, following for a couple hours along the first real lochs of the trip. The Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) has a deceiving name: it is actually not a trail, but a route, running the length of the Scottish Highlands between Fort William in the south and Cape Wrath in the north. We made it back to Edinburgh that last day, on the bus, with a quick transfer through Glasgow. We camped smack dab in the middle of Kinlochewe. It was our own fault - the fire roads were simply too easy walking. Next was a gradual uphill followed by a fucking brutal downhill, with little path and lots of bog. All that time I was thinking hard and long what to do next. There are a couple ways to go, but we chose the 4x4 track down to a proper road. He has recently written an e-book to help others plan and complete this challenge. The CWT offers some of the most magnificent landscapes and views I have found in the British Isles, but to gain access to them you must endure wet and demanding underfoot conditions, rapidly changing weather, exposure to the elements and a vast emptiness that is rare to find the UK anymore. The Cape Wrath Trail travels up the west coast of Scotland, beginning in Fort William, and ending at Cape Wrath which is the northernmost point of Britain. If you're not too tired, head to Barrisdale bothy. We made a bold choice at this point in the trail. The trail follows a good path downhill past Maol Bhuide. © Ordnance Survey document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); / Privacy Policy. The Cape Wrath Trail is the UK’s best long-distance hike. The country isn't as green as you think. If you're not so lucky, continue along the trail for another 20 minutes or so and you'll find a cute little beach by the next lake you reach. The Cape Wrath Trail is among the UK’s toughest but also most rewarding long-distance routes – where better to find solitude and a break from the noise of switched-on modern living? View fullsize. This 6 day walk starts at the remote Kinloch Horn and takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery that the Scottish Highlands have to offer, finishing where the trail passes near Ullapool. Resources. At the very end of the day, right before the trail descended to the bothy where we would stay the night, it turned into an absolute waterfall. To complement the "How hard can it be?Could you run an 8-day epic through wild Scotland" article featuring the Cape Wrath Ultra™ in the latest issue of Trail Running Magazine, we've got some extra content for you to savour featuring Hazel Robertson, née Clyne, (joint 58th with Luke) and Iain Prentice (20th).Thanks to Claire Maxted for the questions! It leads through the harshest and barren areas. After walking the final stretch into Inchnadamph on a gravel road, we decided to hitch the next section (all the way to Oykel Bridge) to save both time and ourselves. It's a bit hard here to tell exactly when you should leave the 4x4 track, cross a few deer gates, and enter the bog. The Cape Wrath Trail is considered the hardest hiking route in the United Kingdom. It would have been a lovely walk if not for the sideways rain. How much food you will be able to carry and will you be sending resupply boxes. The CWT is one of those routes that become part of a bucket list or a "one day" kind of adventure - don't let this happen. You can find the exact distances on Walk Highlands and the Harvey maps. Many consider this trail to be one of the most difficult trails in the United Kingdom. We could see the tracks of an impressive machine that we later learned had made the journey earlier that day. For more information on planning your CWT hike, please see this article. This is the terrain through which the Cape Wrath Trail runs. It was the first night of rain for us, but it was still cozy in the tent. Which is basically my plan. Continue reading » Harvey Cape Wrath Trail Maps. Proceed at your own risk and try to glance at a topo first. From Fort William you will navigate 370km of rugged, beautiful mountain country to reach the UK mainlands most northwesterly point of Cape Wrath. View fullsize. We climbed past some sheep farms and walked a clear path through pretty, if high, terrain. The route leads you across most of the north west coast of Scotland via Morar, Knoydart, Torridon and Assynt, winding through its most beautiful glens and mountains. Next, it climbs up next to the Falls of Glomach. She told me the Ozone Cafe was open if I wanted anything. For the experienced backpacker it offers an irresistible challenge: over two hundred miles of continuously superb hiking through the most beautiful landscapes in Scotland. There's an overpriced cafe there, and likely some weathered hikers just finishing up their own journey. 1. Discovering bluebell woods with the Isle of Wight Walking Festival, Discovering bluebell woods with the Isle of Wight Walking Festival - an ideal spring walking route. When I finally reached the lighthouse, I was met with a friendly hello from a lady laying out in the sun. You’ll find a feature on Alex Roddie’s journey along the trail in the May 2019 issue of our magazine , and in this section of our website we’ve published additional content. We left our little campsite and walked for an annoyingly long time through the town of Morvich. I was looking into all possible directions, checking buses, ferries and trains. Despite some wet and wild weather, I was never uncomfortable during the hike and felt prepared for any meteorological scenario that may have occurred. We would highly recommend this, as much of the track is along the road - no fun at all to walk. The Cape Wrath Trail does not offer hikers the luxury of certainty: flexibility is a critical part of the trailblazer’s mountain kit. It … We spent an extra hour or so waffling about this. But, it was worth it for an easy day. In Craig, we crossed the railroad tracks, and walked up a lovely gravel path. Camping in Fort William was somewhat sketchy, so we'd recommend moving on if you can. Its warm fire and friendly Scots saved us from what would have otherwise been a miserable night. You can find Gilad on his website, on Twitter as @OutdoorsFather or on Facebook. Still, this section is a bit tricky technically. Cape Wrath trail route The Cape Wrath Trail is one of the world's finest long distance walks. The alternative would have been to hike a longer day to Glenfinnan, finishing the following day with a short walk and final hitch or ferry to Fort Williams. The last bit was very, very steep and quite slow going for us. It isn't so hard, and the trail offers great views. It runs along the west coast until the terminus at the Cape Wrath lighthouse at the northwestern tip of the mainland. T he Cape Wrath Trail is the best long-distance hike in the UK. We completed this journey during the second half of May 2018. The Cape Wrath Trail is challenging and frustrating, mostly because the "Cape Wrath Trail" is something that someone (probably on the internet) made up. This really did it for Tori's (by this point) weak joints and it took us ages to reach the bothy at Sourlies. If you've decided to hike it, or are considering your own trip to Scotland, here's our itinerary to help you complete the journey in a fairly reasonable two weeks. And goddamn it poured. For that reason I would call it the most challenging and demanding route in the UK, one that very few people see to completion. Surprisingly, this is where Tori's knees began to go, which boded poorly for the rest of the hike. Here’s how to make the most of it. After a few easy kilometers along the road we reached the lighthouse at Cape Wrath and took the appropriate pictures. It climbed up and up past numerous small lochs to reach Bealach na h-Uidhe. There are no signs or posts to show you the way; navigating this trail is one of the things you’ll have to take care of yourself. We can't guarantee this would be a good idea in all weather. On the plus side, Inverie was beautiful and the ferry offered views toward the Isle of Skye. We then headed briefly back down the road and turned off into some proper bog. There weren't any trains that day, because it was a bank holiday. If you are unsure about the route, just plan your first section and you can always come back to it. Then path turns mildly nonexistent and boggy before reaching a good gravel road. In this case, the ankles. We would highly recommend pushing on to Maol Bhuide, though. The Cape Wrath Trail is a real gem; the diamond in the rough. The area after Glencoul bothy was mostly pathless, but gorgeous. The views - and bothies - were still much better. Such luxury. Instead of taking yet another bus all the way to Cape Wrath, we walked about 8km along a dirt road through MOD territory to Kearvaig bothy, which is an absolutely lovely place to start your journey and is located about 3km before the official start of the Cape Wrath Trail. It's a bit hard here to tell exactly when you should leave the 4x4 track, cross a few deer gates, and enter the bog. while scree and scrambling make this a trail only for the nimble and experienced walker and certainly not to be underestimated! Gilad Nachmani is the creator of the Outdoor Father blog, a guide for people who want to make the most of their limited time with some epic adventures. Video documenting my April 2018 attempt of the Cape Wrath Trail. I walked the Cape Wrath Trail in the summer of 2017. D And the bothies! Unfortunately, by this point, Tori's knees were totally wrecked. Mar 16, 2014; Keeping your feet in working order . What’s the difference? But, be warned, it can happen. We spent an extra hour or so waffling about this. Definitely camp there - afterwards, the trail disintegrates into gnarly bog. The Cape Wrath Trail (let’s call it the CWT from now on) is known as Scotland’s most challenging long-distance trail. No one seemed to care, and it meant that we had a toilet and running water at our disposal. The route can be walked in groups or solo, though it is most commonly done in pairs. Plus, you have a bothy at the end, which makes it all worth it. It really is gorgeous, and there's a surprising amount of sand. Should you just make your own route? Then another hour making our way through trackless moorland up to the top of Ben Stack, which has fabulous views. It is a long distance trail that covers 200-250 miles (320-400 km) and can be walked in one go over 10-30 days (or run in 8 days...), but it can also be a great section hike, being done in stages over long weekends, coming back to meet the trail at various times. Instead, we kept chugging and made it to Glencoul bothy. Fortuitously, it was closed, so we could camp in their pristinely manicured lawn. You can camp on the beach or on a grassy knoll above it like we did. The usual seasonal window for hiking the Cape Wrath Trail in summer-like conditions (i.e. But it can get congested with day hikers (unlike anywhere else). After leaving camp, we wandered through Inverlael, where a few hikers were catching the bus to Ullapool for food. The Cape Wrath Trail is an unofficial long distance trail and as such it is very remote and rarely walked. They will also help prepare you for the CWT, and your ability to handle the first and last of the three big challenges. It explains why we chose to hike it north to south, plus all the gritty details of the trip (including what we'd do differently). After the glen, the last section of the track is on a 4x4 road. Why would I want to do the Cape Wrath Trail alone at all? Cape Wrath Trail Gear List. The trail was gentle, and we saw a fair few day hikers. It was pretty spectacular, but also challenging, remote, and at times monotonous. It is widely regarded as the toughest and most remote of the UK's long distance trails. best eats, Cape Wrath Trail, bothies, bothies Cape Wrath Trail, Accommodation Cape Wrath trail, best bothies on the Cape Wrath Trail, where to stay on the Cape Wrath Trail, Cape Wrath bothy list, Scottish bothies, budget accommodation Cape Wrath trail, Scotland, Bothy, Bothies, Wilderness huts, Free wilderness huts, Scottish bothies, what is a bothy, are bothies free, wild camping, wild camping Scotland, Mountain Bothy Association, MBA, cheap Scotland, Budget backpacking Scotland, backpacking Scotland, Scotland on a budget, is scotland expensive, is Scotland cheap, where to stay in Scotland, Bothy trip, Hiking, Camp for Free in Scotland with the Outdoor Access Code, Our Top Tips to Hike the Cape Wrath Trail Fast and Cheap. Because of Tori's bum knee, we decided to turn off the official route and hike out to Inverie. Over the years since, several guides have been written and a number of suggested variations of the walk itself have been introduced. There are a million different variations, directions, and ideas when it comes to this route. Got any more questions? It still took a couple hours to get there. The Cape Wrath Trail is a remote and challenging 200-mile hike through the Scottish Highlands. This is because the difficulty of the terrain and the lack of way marking (or even defined paths in many places). It's hard to believe that this website is now nearly five years old. There's nothing else in Britain like it. We had no trouble crossing, although the water level was low. The last view of the Great Glen, looking back northeast from above Laggan Bridge. It’s not marked and requires very good navigational skills. The other thing it needs to be approached with is a camera, or at least a half-decent smartphone in my case. Let us know below. This trail should only be undertaken by experienced walkers who have honed their walking, navigation and outdoors skills by now and are very comfortable with being outdoors in harsh conditions. Approximately 230 miles in length, most people take 2-3 weeks to backpack the trip. The CWT is an incredible route – beautiful, tough and truly unique. We then headed up and over some small hills toward the tiny town of Blairmore. We stuck close to the ocean after being told it was less boggy there. The route is unmarked and there is no official line. This is because the difficulty of the terrain and the lack of way marking (or even defined paths in many places). Pack light. Check out detailed information in our post here. The ever changing route crosses Lochaber, Knoydart, Applecross, Torridon, vast parts of Wester Ross, Assynt and Sutherland - all areas of great beauty and majestic peaks. Instead of heading to Kylestrom, we cut some corners and walked straight to the bothy at Glendhu. Once in town, we decided to save some time and hitch hiked from Blairmore to Rinconich. The bridge is technically out at the river before the bothy. We started out the day wandering along the beach. It probably wouldn't have been any cheaper anyway, since we booked the busses in advance. Of course, this is also what makes it so very special. Your own thoughts about the Cape Wrath Trail? It then broke into open bog land (which wasn't too hard to navigate) before meeting up with a 4x4 track. The landscape is stunning. And boy were we jealous. I knew from my previous walk of the Cape Wrath Trail that there are often bits of a path on the coastal route, but it’s hard going whichever way you choose. Lastly, the Cape Wrath Trail crosses the Scottish Highlands and as such has three major challenges: the weather, the fact that it is so remote and rarely travelled, and the critters (midges and ticks). Will you be camping or will you plan on using a mix of bothies and commercial accommodation? It's passed a fucking brutal moorland, though. Finally, we passed Shiel Bridge, where there's a perfect river to swim in, and began climbing. Other resources online make it sound incredibly hard, but I think it is manageable for any prepared hiker. There are no signs to follow, no nightly stays in B&Bs with a pub dinner. It's all old fire road, and pretty flat. This has little to do with its duration or elevation levels. Aug 06, 2014; Harvey Cape Wrath Trail Maps. Cape Wrath Trail is a hiking route that runs through the Scottish Highlands and along the west coast of Scotland. On the 81 mile route you'll find historic Jacobite battle grounds in Kintail, beautiful Caledonian Pine forest near Kinlochewe, and traverse the Fisherfields known as the last great wilderness of the UK. There are grassy banks next to the lochs and the sheep are cute and curious. Britain’s wildest weather, which can leave you hiking for days without dry gear, is one thing that slows you down. We chose to take the western route instead of the easier Great Glen variant. It took us about 5 minutes, 2 minutes longer than it had in Rinconich. In 2020 I also walked a major part of it south to north on my Dover to Cape Wrath walk.. It's available for £6.99 from Gumroad. But it was a good ride. We left early, and traversed a pleasantly undulating trail along the loch. It seemed like the end when we finally reached a 4x4 and indeed we did pass Bendronaig Lodge. The CWT is not a trail on which to learn those much needed outdoors skills and it is not a trail to take friends or relatives who would like to get a taste of the outdoors on - they might never try again. without extensive snow and ice) extends from roughly April to October in an average year, but non-trivial snow could be encountered for weeks at either end of this window, making the trail a significantly tougher proposition. Glendhu is beautifully situated and would make a great overnight stop. The trail then drops gently, through a forest, down to Morvich. Caught the Durness bus there and waited on a very unreliable ferry. It’s marked as a campsite on the maps so naturally the smooth area of grass was where three sets of hikers (us included) had pitched. It took surprisingly long to reach Barrisdale, so we stopped there for lunch. The trail from Stack Lodge follows a proper road briefly and then turns up and up past some lovely lakes. To what extent will you allow the weather to decide your activity level? Cape Wrath Trail Tip 20 – Don’t Camp on the Lawn at Kinloch Hourn. Sandwood Bay is probably the best beach on the trek. Not what you picture when you think of Scotland. So for those of you interested in walking to Cape Wrath, it’s time to dust off those map-and-compass skills! There are also many decision to be made before even leaving that are beyond the standard long trail decisions, such as: All of these are very important decisions that are taken long before travel planning or gear updates begin; these are decisions that should be taken in the idea stage. We were told this was the best part of the trek. It can be hard to find the little path there is, and if you take a wrong turn, you could end up at the bottom of a cliff and have to turn around (like we did). The real challenge with the CWT is that it crosses the Scottish Highlands: one of the last wild areas in the British Isles. When planning to walk the Cape Wrath Trail you will quickly learn that information is scarce and a lot of pre-trip research is needed. With a very painful knee and an altered itinerary, it didn't really feel like the end of a mighty trek. Will you be hunkering down every time the weather turns? The trail is EXTREMELY good here, the best of the whole trip, so soak it in. Speaking of the bothy - Shenavall was our favorite bothy of the entire trip. The walk to the School House bothy is very easy from Oykel, and highly recommended. After the bothy, the path is clear, or at least easy, past some big lochs. The CWT is not a new concept, but it was first named and suggested by David Paterson in a 1996 book about the route. We camped next to the river, right before Inverlael. Aug 06, 2014; Choice of maps is a particularly important decision when planning an expedition on the Cape Wrath Trail. Now I’m a freelance, I can (kind of) afford to allow myself time to complete the Trail in my own time, at a pace that suits the conditions and my own fitness. The southern section of the trail has a few possible routes available for hikers, as their is no official route. A 15/16-stage unmarked (!!!) The Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) has a deceiving name: it is actually not a trail, but a route, running the length of the Scottish Highlands between Fort William in the south and Cape Wrath in the north. Plus there's a little store in town. Hitch hiking may have been possible, but the roads got quite large a few hours south of Fort William. We got hopelessly lost after leaving the Schoolhouse. The CWT is, mostly, a non-technical walking route that includes no high peaks and only has short and simple trackless sections that require navigational skills. We just weren't up for the long day(s). Use the offer code 'os' to save 25%. Don’t underestimate this section! After finally finding our way, the first half of the walk was quite easy. I have always been drawn to those remote and hard trails – maybe it is my need to feel that I’m on the edge and pushing my survival limits – so the Cape Wrath Trail became my goal in the UK. Having said all that, this trail is a stunning long distance route. #GetOutside Champion, Stef Jackson-Horner, knew that a big white wedding wasn't for her and her fiancé; what they wanted was a walking wedding. It's hard to believe that this website is now nearly five years old. Last year when I walked the trail I kept a pretty good pace, and my experience on recent trips showed me that 5 km/h is a reasonable pace for me. But one thing is for sure: it can be kind of a bitch. Ultrapacking on the Cape Wrath Trail The route is roughly 230 miles, and it took me 15 days to walk it north to south. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to complete and is considered the most difficult long-distance walk in the UK. Choice of maps is a particularly important decision when planning an expedition on the Cape Wrath Trail. Stefan also managed to lose his one and only shirt at the bottom, so he got to hike it once and run it a second time. Know what you’re taking on. The CWT can still be walked in any way you would like, but has, in general, roughly followed the route suggested by Denis Brook and Phil Hinchliffe since they proposed it in 1999. It was quite pretty - some of the greenest area you'll see in Scotland. There's plenty of accommodation in town. The Cape Wrath Trail is one of the UK’s toughest long-distance trails, covering roughly 240 challenging (and often pathless) miles from Fort William to Cape Wrath. This 200-mile, two-to-three-week tramp up the rugged northwest edge of the Highlands whets hard-core adventurers’ appetites. Overall I was happy with my gear selections on the Cape Wrath Trail. Some of the river crossings on the Cape Wrath Trail can be potentially difficult and dangerous. The Cape Wrath Trail, besides being Britain’s most remote long-distance trail, is also a noticeably unmarked trail. One of the biggest problems with the Cape Wrath Trail is its remoteness. Unlike some other, better known and organised trails, the CWT is best enjoyed when you are actually out there, coming to terms with the weather and seeing the landscape. You have to go up another stack, in what is essentially a slowly running river, and back down to Glencoul bothy on the other side. If you have no past experience hiking in Scotland it is recommended to try a couple of easier trails such as the West Highland Way or the Affric Kintail Way; both are easier to walk, less demanding and are well marked. Rinconich could barely be called a town, but it does have some public toilets and sinks that could be useful. Which route variation to take? One of the toughest (and also most spectacular) long distance walks is the Cape Wrath Trail in the Scottish Highlands. hard (!!) The Cape Wrath Trail is often referred to as Britain’s toughest long distance trail, and is an unofficial route through some of the most spectacularly wild parts of Scotland. The real challenge with the CWT is that it crosses the Scottish Highlands: one of the last wild areas in the British Isles. We made the rather bold decision, after walking down the other side of Ben Stack on a gravel road, to abandon the trail. We met our ride on the ferry, so it was quite easy and enjoyable. It was a bit torturous, being able to see the bothy from miles away. But we can tell you it worked for us, and their were no cliffs in the way. We know, surprising. Then, we entered the lovely Glen Douchary. Gilad Nachmani has advice for anyone planning on taking on the last British wilderness. But if you put some effort forward, you'll see some pretty spectacular scenery and get a damn good taste of the Scottish highlands. Most sections have at least one climb over a bealach that can be very challenging, especially if there is snow present. The Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) has a deceiving name: it is actually not a trail, but a route, running the length of the Scottish Highlands between Fort William in the south and Cape Wrath in the north.

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