It took us about 5 minutes, 2 minutes longer than it had in Rinconich. © Ordnance Survey document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); / Privacy Policy. Sandwood Bay is probably the best beach on the trek. Located in Scotland, it runs from Fort William, through the Highlands and Western Scotland, to the lighthouse at Cape Wrath, the northwestern-most point of Scotland. The CWT is an incredible route – beautiful, tough and truly unique. View fullsize. 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. 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. Will you be camping or will you plan on using a mix of bothies and commercial accommodation? Find out how the big day went and how you go about preparing for such an event in the British outdoors! 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? I walked the Cape Wrath Trail in the summer of 2017. 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. The Cape Wrath Trail is the UK’s best long-distance hike. Camping in Fort William was somewhat sketchy, so we'd recommend moving on if you can. Rinconich could barely be called a town, but it does have some public toilets and sinks that could be useful. No one seemed to care, and it meant that we had a toilet and running water at our disposal. 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. From Fort William you will navigate 370km of rugged, beautiful mountain country to reach the UK mainlands most northwesterly point of Cape Wrath. It climbed up and up past numerous small lochs to reach Bealach na h-Uidhe. It's hard to believe that this website is now nearly five years old. This is because the difficulty of the terrain and the lack of way marking (or even defined paths in many places). T he Cape Wrath Trail is the best long-distance hike in the UK. 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. Next, it climbs up next to the Falls of Glomach. Choice of maps is a particularly important decision when planning an expedition on the Cape Wrath Trail. The Cape Wrath Trail is a remote and challenging 200-mile hike through the Scottish Highlands. Plus there's a little store in town. There are a million different variations, directions, and ideas when it comes to this route. 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. Cape Wrath Trail Gear List. But, be warned, it can happen. The trail from Stack Lodge follows a proper road briefly and then turns up and up past some lovely lakes. 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. This was a godsend - the end of the day was easy walking to Stack Lodge. 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. 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. We made it back to Edinburgh that last day, on the bus, with a quick transfer through Glasgow. We camped next to a lovely rope swing and fire pit, a good four kilometers before it. 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 plenty of accommodation in town. The bridge is technically out at the river before the bothy. The views - and bothies - were still much better. We then headed briefly back down the road and turned off into some proper bog. It was quite pretty - some of the greenest area you'll see in Scotland. OS GetOutside Champion Cat Webster takes us on a two-day bothy adventure, taking in two Munros along the way. Let us know below. 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. The other thing it needs to be approached with is a camera, or at least a half-decent smartphone in my case. After a few easy kilometers along the road we reached the lighthouse at Cape Wrath and took the appropriate pictures. There's not one perfect way to get to and from the trail. But if you put some effort forward, you'll see some pretty spectacular scenery and get a damn good taste of the Scottish highlands. We would highly recommend this, as much of the track is along the road - no fun at all to walk. In bad weather, it can be unforgiving. It took surprisingly long to reach Barrisdale, so we stopped there for lunch. To what extent will you allow the weather to decide your activity level? Generally the north is more populated than the South so you'll see more through hikers there. We spent an extra hour or so waffling about this. We started out the day wandering along the beach. Instead, we kept chugging and made it to Glencoul bothy. The trail is EXTREMELY good here, the best of the whole trip, so soak it in. while scree and scrambling make this a trail only for the nimble and experienced walker and certainly not to be underestimated! It's all old fire road, and pretty flat. It’s not actually a trail though, but a route. Many describe the CWT as the hardest (or toughest) route in the UK, but I think it is not the route that makes it hard - it is the setting it is in. A very boggy downhill section took most of our time. Over the years since, several guides have been written and a number of suggested variations of the walk itself have been introduced. 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! The CWT is not a new concept, but it was first named and suggested by David Paterson in a 1996 book about the route. Despite some wet and wild weather, I was never uncomfortable during the hike and felt prepared for any meteorological scenario that may have occurred. 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). Many consider this trail to be one of the most difficult trails in the United Kingdom. Video documenting my April 2018 attempt of the Cape Wrath Trail. The Cape Wrath Trail, besides being Britain’s most remote long-distance trail, is also a noticeably unmarked trail. 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 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). Plus, you have a bothy at the end, which makes it all worth it. His primary interest is ultrapacking - long distance, fast multi-day self supported trips, including the Cape Wrath Trail - you can see more about how he took it on twice - in 2015 and 2016 on his blog. You can find the exact distances on Walk Highlands and the Harvey maps. It was pretty spectacular, but also challenging, remote, and at times monotonous. The Cape Wrath Trail is a real gem; the diamond in the rough. 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. We climbed past some sheep farms and walked a clear path through pretty, if high, terrain. He has recently written an e-book to help others plan and complete this challenge. Climbing 250 metres when you’re pushing through waist deep bogs is … The walk to the School House bothy is very easy from Oykel, and highly recommended. The trail was gentle, and we saw a fair few day hikers. We made a bold choice at this point in the trail. Aug 06, 2014; Harvey Cape Wrath Trail Maps. 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. Glendhu is beautifully situated and would make a great overnight stop. 1. Still, this section is a bit tricky technically. It was a bit torturous, being able to see the bothy from miles away. But it can get congested with day hikers (unlike anywhere else). It was the first night of rain for us, but it was still cozy in the tent. Unfortunately, by this point, Tori's knees were totally wrecked. We had no trouble crossing, although the water level was low. Use the offer code 'os' to save 25%. Then, down again on a whole lotta bog. Some of the river crossings on the Cape Wrath Trail can be potentially difficult and dangerous. We camped on a green piece of lawn in front of an abandoned building and got a bit of flac from the owner. 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. It is approximately 200 miles in length and is considered to be one of the most challenging long distance walks in the UK. The area after Glencoul bothy was mostly pathless, but gorgeous. 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). This is a gorgeous section. We stuck close to the ocean after being told it was less boggy there. Check out detailed information in our post here. This is because the difficulty of the terrain and the lack of way marking (or even defined paths in many places). It then broke into open bog land (which wasn't too hard to navigate) before meeting up with a 4x4 track. We're glad we did, even though we couldn't quite finish the whole thing in our time allowed. We know, surprising. We met our ride on the ferry, so it was quite easy and enjoyable. We left our little campsite and walked for an annoyingly long time through the town of Morvich. There are very long pathless sections where you need skillful navigation (An absolute requirement!) You should be comfortable with long days on the hills, exposed to the elements and with very little shelter. We started off the day by hitch hiking to Craig. We camped next to the river, right before Inverlael. It probably wouldn't have been any cheaper anyway, since we booked the busses in advance. 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. Got any more questions? They will also help prepare you for the CWT, and your ability to handle the first and last of the three big challenges. 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. This is the terrain through which the Cape Wrath Trail runs. Because of Tori's bum knee, we decided to turn off the official route and hike out to Inverie. There are no signs to follow, no nightly stays in B&Bs with a pub dinner. The route is unmarked and there is no official line. It’s not marked and requires very good navigational skills. It was our own fault - the fire roads were simply too easy walking. We camped smack dab in the middle of Kinlochewe. The Cape Wrath Trail (let’s call it the CWT from now on) is known as Scotland’s most challenging long-distance trail. We made the rather bold decision, after walking down the other side of Ben Stack on a gravel road, to abandon the trail. It seemed like the end when we finally reached a 4x4 and indeed we did pass Bendronaig Lodge. 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. Such luxury. The country isn't as green as you think. It's hard to believe that this website is now nearly five years old. There are a couple ways to go, but we chose the 4x4 track down to a proper road. But it was a good ride. walk from Fort William all the way to Cape Wrath. We took a train to Sterling, then another to Lairg. Surprisingly, this is where Tori's knees began to go, which boded poorly for the rest of the hike. The route can be walked in groups or solo, though it is most commonly done in pairs. Which route variation to take? It leads through the harshest and barren areas. After finally finding our way, the first half of the walk was quite easy. This has little to do with its duration or elevation levels. 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. 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. 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. The Cape Wrath Trail does not offer hikers the luxury of certainty: flexibility is a critical part of the trailblazer’s mountain kit. Will you be hunkering down every time the weather turns? Fortuitously, it was closed, so we could camp in their pristinely manicured lawn. Having said all that, this trail is a stunning long distance route. We also wrote our best tips for the trek in another article, here. 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. We then headed up and over some small hills toward the tiny town of Blairmore. And the bothies! It isn't so hard, and the trail offers great views. It is widely regarded as the toughest and most remote of the UK's long distance trails. The Cape Wrath Trail is an unofficial long distance trail and as such it is very remote and rarely walked. For the experienced backpacker it offers an irresistible challenge: over two hundred miles of continuously superb hiking through the most beautiful landscapes in Scotland. It really is gorgeous, and there's a surprising amount of sand. It still took a couple hours to get there. The first day of this trek really let us know what we were in for. The Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) is an unofficial, unmarked long-distance route between Fort William and Cape Wrath, the farthest NW point in mainland Britain. One of the biggest problems with the Cape Wrath Trail is its remoteness. The last view of the Great Glen, looking back northeast from above Laggan Bridge. Here is exactly how we did it with (mostly) public transport 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. The trail follows a good path downhill past Maol Bhuide. Most sections have at least one climb over a bealach that can be very challenging, especially if there is snow present. This is where we made the biggest decision on the Cape Wrath Trail. There are grassy banks next to the lochs and the sheep are cute and curious. 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. This day was very slow going, but also included a stop at Cape Wrath. And goddamn it poured. We left early, and traversed a pleasantly undulating trail along the loch. The last bit was very, very steep and quite slow going for us. We can't guarantee this would be a good idea in all weather. There's nothing else in Britain like it. 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. Britain’s wildest weather, which can leave you hiking for days without dry gear, is one thing that slows you down. This 200-mile, two-to-three-week tramp up the rugged northwest edge of the Highlands whets hard-core adventurers’ appetites. There weren't any trains that day, because it was a bank holiday. The usual seasonal window for hiking the Cape Wrath Trail in summer-like conditions (i.e. Next was a gradual uphill followed by a fucking brutal downhill, with little path and lots of bog. Aug 06, 2014; Choice of maps is a particularly important decision when planning an expedition on the Cape Wrath Trail. The bottom of the valley is a great place for a picnic. We could see the tracks of an impressive machine that we later learned had made the journey earlier that day. Then another hour making our way through trackless moorland up to the top of Ben Stack, which has fabulous views. This is the southern section of our Cape Wrath Trail. So for those of you interested in walking to Cape Wrath, it’s time to dust off those map-and-compass skills! We spent an extra hour or so waffling about this. For that reason I would call it the most challenging and demanding route in the UK, one that very few people see to completion. As much as the CWT is a long distance walk, it is not a trail you take to with a few maps and a guide book; it requires careful planning - from the walking route to food carrying to missing gear. After the bothy, the path is clear, or at least easy, past some big lochs. 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. Morar, Knoydart, Assynt … the nation’s most grueling trail passes places so remote, many are known simply as wildernesses—because there are … 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. 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. 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. In Craig, we crossed the railroad tracks, and walked up a lovely gravel path. In 2020 I also walked a major part of it south to north on my Dover to Cape Wrath walk.. 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. see more about how he took it on twice - in 2015 and 2016 on his blog. Here’s how to make the most of it. 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. 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. Your own thoughts about the Cape Wrath Trail? If you get the chance, do stay there. You can camp on the beach or on a grassy knoll above it like we did. Instead of heading to Kylestrom, we cut some corners and walked straight to the bothy at Glendhu. You can connect the two endpoints by hiking over any trails you want, even hiking cross-country or a mix, if it suits you. Gilad Nachmani has advice for anyone planning on taking on the last British wilderness. On the plus side, Inverie was beautiful and the ferry offered views toward the Isle of Skye. The real challenge with the CWT is that it crosses the Scottish Highlands: one of the last wild areas in the British Isles. I was looking into all possible directions, checking buses, ferries and trains. It runs along the west coast until the terminus at the Cape Wrath lighthouse at the northwestern tip of the mainland. I decided that I had to do it. We completed this journey during the second half of May 2018. The Harvey maps can leave you hiking for days without dry gear, also. North to south day by hitch hiking May have been introduced distance walk from Fort William the... If not for the rest of the day was very slow going, it... Was open if I wanted anything part of the track is along the road and turned off into proper... Wild areas in the United Kingdom, since we booked the busses advance. 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