Cape Wrath – 31/08/18 to 02/09/19. Simply put, bikepacking is the synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping; it evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking, with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. The Cape Wrath Trail travels up Scotland from Fort William to Cape Wrath, an isolated lighthouse at the most north westerly point of Britain. I would be starting having already failed. It was Cape Wrath (Scotland’s most Northernly point on the mainland) and the remote café was open for business (as it is 24 hours a day 365 days a year). This would be a journey about far more than just the distance I would ride. Damn! First, a delayed start pushed us to rethink and turn the route on its head, starting at Cape Wrath itself to remove the unknown of a return home from the far north on the final day. We must have missed it a while back. Day one can be described as incredible remoteness, tough hike-a-bike, rain, wind, and stunning landscapes. This was the hardest section of the ride and I was through it. All in, 175km and 3,281m of climbing. After checking in with Charlie and deciding on a camping spot for the night, one final small climb of the day was all that remained. Home Blog Bikepacking Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy, Glenfeshie. The fourth issue of The Bikepacking Journal hit mailboxes this spring. I could imagine the views would be stunning had the cloud not been so low. Seeing the remote remains of former settlements really brought home just how much this period changed the landscape of Scotland both physically and emotionally for those families forced out of their homes. Designed to be ridden over a leisurely eight days, its inauguration was a race event, which saw the record time being set at just over four days. I rode through a large estate and then on through spectacular glens, beneath mountains, and past solitary dwellings into the growing dusk. And aiming for the fastest time over the route is the ambition that spurs me on, but if the possibility of completing it is dashed from the offset, what drive is there to suffer anyway? Surely the turn onto the path that would lead us down to Kearvaig Bothy was close! There ware many stops along the way to take in the sites of the MOD buildings and abandoned homes. Nothing my bike couldn’t handle. By the time I popped out in Aberfoyle the dusk was creeping in and I had around 80km to go until the end. From the end of the West Highland Way in Milngavie, the section along the rural parts of the Kelvin was definitely experimental, and the combination of mud, fallen trees, and giant hogweed could have really destroyed my calm were it not for the knowledge that I was mere teens of kilometres from the end. Arriving late in the evening, I met up with my biking buddy, Jack Kirkbride. Cape Wrath. I think everybody on this forum that uses one has the same opinion. Trust me. Surely the turn onto the path that would lead us down to Kearvaig Bothy was close! As you descend the track, the stunning views of the bothy open up with an expanse of golden sanded beach wrapped up out the harsh winds by towering cliffs and hills all around. As we climbed away from the coast and inland, the midges dissipated and gave way to some light drizzle. We all know what the run up to Christmas is like, don’t we? It has seen tragedy in its past and its remoteness gives you a sense of tranquillity beyond anything frequently experienced before. Quick, lightweight 29er modern mountain bike, a genuine multi-activity hardtail. The jackets were packed away, and shorts were called for now. Here I met two separate riders going the other way, the first people I’d met on the trails all day. I awoke early next day. It uses old drove roads and military roads and new hydroelectric access roads, all linked by small sections of minor country road and walking paths to create a 354-mile (562-kilometre in new money) route from Scotland’s largest city to the most westerly part of the north coast. Beulah, a collaborative film between Pannier and Brother Cycles, follows their unsupported cycle trip to explore the Cape Wrath track; a journey inspired by a 1970s OS Map Sheet of the most north-westerly part of Scotland. An Turas Mór is a long-distance MTB route from Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery in the beautiful west end, all the way to Cape Wrath’s remote lighthouse. The Cape Wrath Fellowship. This day I knew would be tough, with three big climbs before I even got to the biggest of the route, and the highest road pass in Scotland, the Corrieyairack Pass. I awoke a couple of hours later and found that I had drifted off (as had Jack). I really worried that I wouldn’t be able to ride. Bikepacking An Turas Mor Glasgow to Cape Wrath, Solo and packrafting across Kyle Of Durness to finish. I thought i would share my build process and future plans for it. I bought a Cape Wrath from 97 from retrobike. To view them all, click through to the komoot Collection and hit … Okay, the use of the word official might not be solidly defined, but here are *most* of the recognised long distance bikepacking across England, Scotland and Wales. I didn’t know what to expect. The Cape Wrath Trail begins in Fort William which is about 3 hours north of Glasgow on the west coast of Scotland, by bus or train. Hallelujah! More here. It didn’t take long to drift off that night! We inspire and inform through original bikepacking routes, stories, and coverage of the gear, news, and events that make our community thrive. Click the link below to find out how to start. It didn’t fail to live up to its expectations. This time, we finally got to see all those spectacular sceneries. Cycle magazine; Cycle Campaign News ; CycleClips e-newsletter; Velocheer; Jobs; History. 1. Blue skies and warm sunshine had come out to see us off! The tracks were quite reasonable and the climbs all doable at a casual pace. to support us & get The Bikepacking Journal. There is no escaping it I’m afraid! Thankfully the track has been partially tarmacked thanks to a heavy MOD presence in the area. Cape Wrath Home Blog Bikepacking Cape Wrath. After a hot brew and a hearty meal of beans on toast, I enquired to the keeper “how do you get all your supplies out here?” It turns out that they get helicoptered in a couple of times a year! We decided to take a breather and check our map. It was so dark by now, but my lights kept me safe and marked the way onward. After work on the Friday evening I chucked my bike on the roof of my car and took the long drive up to Durness. Simply put, bikepacking is the synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping; it evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking, with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. As we climbed away from the coast and inland, the midges dissipated and gave way to some light drizzle. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband, two children and two step children, where she works as an IT Project manager. Despite her attempt to set the new fastest time on Scotland’s An Turas Mór being invalidated before she could even start pedaling, Naomi Freireich recently set out for a solo time trial from Cape Wrath to Glasgow. Cape Wrath Trail Backpacking Gear List, Explained Philip Werner Gear Lists, Scotland 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. Early the next morning we were up and brewing a nice cuppa ready for the day ahead. This was our second trip of 2019 to the bothy and again we elected to camp and allow the fellow visitors to sleep in the bothy. Mindset. And of course, with each climb came an adrenaline-inducing descent. Click the link below to find out how to start. It was here I knew I could do it. West Coast of Scotland sounds nice. Set it up for XC race speed and a trail centre slayer or set it up for all-day comfort loaded with bags and ride rugged country, bothy trips to Cape Wrath and beyond. Try one. We had a quick explore of the bothy first, and then chose the left-hand portion of the building to call home for the night. Whilst keeping our heads down and riding against the driving rain, we managed to go straight past the track. There ware many stops along the way to take in the sites of the MOD buildings and abandoned homes. The Cape Wrath Trail runs from Fort William to Cape Wrath on Scotland’s northwest coast, for approximately 280 miles. Located in Sutherland in the Highlands of Scotland, Cape Wrath is the most northwestern point of the UK. From there, the path became more familiar to me. We rose with the light, enjoyed a tasty breakfast with our view, and headed to the ferry point, the closest I could get to the end to begin my journey. This part is a single room separate from the rest of the bothy with a sleeping platform for two or three and its own fire place. After what seemed like a short ride, we arrived back in time for the ferry and were in Durness for a stop at the famous Coco Mountain café for one of the most amazing hot chocolates you will ever experience. Within a couple of miles, a strange building appeared through the mist in the distance. For me, being warm and dry and knowing I was safe and had food and water simplified the task ahead. Straight Cut Designs for making a custom bag for the InSearchOf that carried everything I needed and worked like a dream. Approximately 230 miles in length, most people take 2-3 weeks to backpack the trip. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @frikfrak74. History timeline; Obituaries. BIKEPACKING.com is dedicated to exploration by bicycle. The further on we progressed, the more the bad weather came in. Length: 23.80 miles Level of ride: Beginner Type of bike: Any though mountain bike preferable. This was the ride I did against all odds and completed anyway, always with a smile. Once on the other side of the water, the midges instantly swarmed on us like a cloud, so the decision was promptly made to get under way and out from the swarms of nibblers. When we stepped outside, it was wonderful to find that the clouds and dull weather had all dissipated overnight. 33 mi. Fast and fun. Exposure lights for their excellent bike lights keeping me safe on the roads and on the right path off them. Undertaking a 560-kilometre bikepacking route through the wilds of the far north of Scotland in autumn weather definitely takes a certain mindset. We walked on the sand at low tide, climbed rocks, ate dinner with a view, and after a good night’s rest, woke with the sunrise over the bay. What a place. framebags are, IMHO, one of the first things you need when bikepacking. I like to keep track of what gear worked and what didn’t on my backpacking trips for future reference. 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. A shorter day at 124km, but still over 3000m of climbing. Similarly, the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel is only accessible by foot, so the whole area has this incredibly remote feel to it. Bikes and luggage all on aboard. An hour before the film started, we put a shout out for you folks to get creative and sketch one of the bikes, or scenes, from Rainspotting – the sketchier the better – and dangled a box of Outdoor Provisions bars as a Grand Prize. Learn More, As important as it is to have a reliable bike and pack as light as you can, choosing the right route is perhaps the key to your enjoyment. And finally, to Charlie. My goal was to go faster. Thankfully, the first climb started with a smooth hydro access path. The drizzle turned into rain and we were both getting fairly soaked by this point. The route begged to be ridden, and I wasn’t going to let 20 small kilometres stop me from enjoying the other 540! Dinner was a one pot masterpiece of chicken curry and rice. Visit this section to learn how to choose a route, and some insight into navigation. Standing there in the wind and rain, I knew the old me would have been making my excuses already, but in that moment I knew I was ready for this, and I also knew just what completing the journey no matter what now would mean to me. It’s not actually a trail though, but a route. Start Here, Broadly speaking, there are three bikepacking genres to choose from – Multi-day Mountain Biking, Ultralight Race & Gravel, and Expedition & Dirt Touring. And to see the Gallery lit up in all its glory was properly emotional. Then, on arrival, the weather scuppering our chance of a ferry crossing from Durness (the only means to reach Cape Wrath) meant I would be starting, not from one end, but with 20km unridden and unrideable by me. Little of the north of Scotland is inhabited, either through its unsuitability or because of the devastating Highland clearances of the 1700s. Arriving late in the evening, I met up with my biking buddy, Jack Kirkbride. Well, it is in fact almost a thousand kilometres from where we currently live in Sussex. This would be among the most beautiful places I passed through on the ride. The bothy is known as one of the best in Scotland. After what seemed like a short ride, we arrived back in time for the ferry and were in Durness for a stop at the famous Coco Mountain café for one of the most amazing hot chocolates you will ever experience. With stunning drone shots and a voiceover by Lee, the short film depicts an adventure with a twist. Multi-activity 29er for fast, flowy trails, hurtling over (US) A great overnight trip to the Ruigh Aiteachain bothy on the Glenfeshie estate to celebrate a couple of phat boys birthdays. I stopped for lunch with Charlie after the second of these descents, the climb to which had been on an old and very rocky military road. Its beauty is in its simplicity, but don’t confuse simple with basic. View The Classics, The Bikepacking Journal is our printed collection of inspiring writing and beautiful photography.Find details here alongside a growing collection of web exclusive features... Have one to share? I could imagine the views would be stunning had the cloud not been so low. About. The vast uninhabited highlands have been really opened up for riding by the hydroelectric industry, with the access roads reaching high up into the hills where the dams, turbines, and solar generate 90% of the energy consumed in Scotland. This time, we finally got to see all those spectacular sceneries. Cick the link to see them plotted or select from the links to the right to filter. No trouble whatsoever. Just the faint sound of the sea and wind and the crackling of the fire. Beyond that, all we knew for sure was we wanted to reach the lighthouse at Cape Wrath and the route we ended up riding was quite different to what we’d originally planned! Lael, Chris, Erik & Rue explore the High Sierras of California with bikes and bike backpacks. I would really recommend bikepacking to anyone who loves to ride a bike. Never mind – Crack on to Cape Wrath lighthouse for a cup of coffee and a nice hot lunch was the decision made at that point. I’d ridden it once before with Charlie a couple of years ago and knew what was ahead of me. To ride to the end of the trail past my old University haunts, along the Kelvin cycle path, past Maryhill, the Botanical Gardens, and through Kelvingrove beneath Glasgow University felt like such a fitting way to end my ride. An Turas Mor: Cape Wrath to Glasgow by Bike - BIKEPACKING.com Join Stefan, Will, Luke and Jordan - the guys behind the film Beulah - as they discuss the ever-popular pursuit of bikepacking, various bike and kit setups, their trip to Cape Wrath, and the experiences of filming by bike. My Achilles tendon at my left heel was really painful and the climbing of the day before was evident in my legs. The Cape Wrath Trail is considered the hardest hiking route in the United Kingdom. Find her story of pushing herself in the face of failure here…, Words by Naomi Freireich (@frikfrak74), photos by Charlie Lees (@charlielees). Once back at the bothy, we made a brew and climbed into our sleeping bags to warm up. At the time of researching the route, the most information I had was someone thinking the record was around three days. Derek Buttle 1930-2017 The rest was (almost) all downhill. Trust me. / … Day 3 stats: 225km and 3478m of climbing. Quick, lightweight 29er modern mountain bike, a genuine multi-activity hardtail. We had a ferry to catch, so had a fairly strict time plan to keep to. For 70 years, Cycling UK’s Cape Wrath Fellowship has put cyclists to the test. We believe travel by bicycle has the power to encourage conservation, inclusivity, and respect for all people and cultures. Hardtail trail centre mountain bike compatible with 27.5+ or 29 inch wheels. As soon as you start from the Durness side, you are straight into a steep climb. The tracks were quite reasonable and the climbs all doable at a casual pace. The ride back to the ferry was just stunning. Cape Wrath by Fatbike and Packraft - BIKEPACKING.com A film with a twist about a fat bike and packraft journey to the most northwesterly point on the UK mainland, Cape Wrath. This time there was no missing the track. People have been strapping bags to handlebars and donning backpacks since the dawn of mountain biking, and using their knobbly-tyred bikes to explore remote routes unreachable on day trips. Beyond the damn, however, the paths became rough and loose and at times very boggy. After work on the Friday evening I chucked my bike on the roof of my car and took the long drive up to Durness. The nearest access point is Corrour Station, the highest train station in the U.K., which is only reachable on foot or on the train itself. Another hydro road climb followed by a beautiful switchback descent took me close to Killin and a lunch break. The ride back to the ferry was just stunning. As failures go, this one was certainly a winner. In a sense, at least. It'll be a pretty informal, light-hearted 30 mins so please come by if you're keen to hear more, or ask us any questions. All that remained was the small matter of what now. Accidentally switching off my alarm meant my morning routine was condensed to 15 minutes of mad panic. What differentiates this new wave of bikepacking is the specialised gear that’s emerged and the popularisation of Try one. Why did it have to be an FKT to be worth doing? Having that positivity to push on when the only reason to do so is that mindset itself; it’s a life skill that doesn’t come naturally to most. From the north, the pass climbs almost 700m over 12km to its highest point, then descends on a majestic but incredibly rough set of switchbacks that keep you on your toes. So much history is attached to these roads, and to be able to ride them still is pretty mind-blowing. What looked like a short distance ended up taking a good hour and a half through overgrown paths, and by the time I met up with my husband Charlie in the trailhead car park, I was famished. Rather than stop there, at the edge of a busy road, I decided to push on to Contin, home of the Strathpuffer 24-hour race, and my first 24-hour title. There is no escaping it I’m afraid! When you live on the south coast, Scotland seems an awful long way away. Expect fully loaded bikes, empty roads & wilderness, campfires, bothies, tents, and a steady flow of single malt… On the plus side, we got to spend a glorious afternoon and night on the north coast of Scotland. At 9am, the wee boat turned up and helped us load the bikes for the short crossing. Learn More, We have ~100 routes on our worldwide bikepacking routes map. I really hope you will join us. However, you can step on the Caledonian Sleeper train in London Euston one evening and arrive to wild, breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands from your cabin window the following morning. I woke late on day three. With their initial plans for an east-west traverse of the Sierras burning down time-and-time-again, they opted for a 300KM circular bikepacking route - upwards, further into untamed country where roads turned to trails… I’d been up in the night needing the toilet and had to hobble. The Killin to Callander cycle path gave me some easy, flattish kilometres, albeit into a headwind before hitting the three lochs route from Loch Venachar. For the support, the selfless gift of his time and patience, and for the stunning photographs by which to remember a truly unforgettable weekend. Stretching approximately 230 miles (370 km) from the Highland hub of Fort William to the remote lighthouse of Cape Wrath, it is an unmarked and sometimes trailless route that passes through the wild and spectacular landscapes of northwestern Scotland. The kids…, George, Dave and I left Grantown on spey on a dull Sunday morning with expectations…, A great overnight trip to the Ruigh Aiteachain bothy on the Glenfeshie estate to celebrate a…. View The Map, There are some routes that are made classic by their sheer perfection, and others by races. Thankfully the track has been partially tarmacked thanks to a heavy MOD presence in the area. And despite the pain and fatigue I felt, the joy of being there and knowing my body was capable of powering me to the top kept me pushing on and kept me smiling. I have heard stories that the sense of remoteness and isolation make you think about life a little more poetically. View All Features. Beulah Tour Cycling Cape Wrath & Scotland's Wild North-West - a three day bikepacking trip to the most north-westerly point of the British Mainland, along our loneliest road... Stefan Amato & Jordan Gibbons An Turas Mor: Cape Wrath to Glasgow by Bike - BIKEPACKING.com Naomi Freireich set out for a solo time trial from Cape Wrath to Glasgow on Scotland's An … Chris and Jelle tour the very north-west of Scotland by bike - to Sandwood Bay with flippers, surf boards and wetsuits in tow, before bikepacking the famed road to Cape Wrath... Chris McClean & Jelle Mul I ring the bell but it takes her an age to arrive at the food window. So during quarantine I really wanted to make another project, something off-grid, to get me going to forests, lakes and all the places I wanted. What is Bikepacking? Rainspotting – our second film together with Brother Cycles (following Beulah, 2016) – tracks our 84-hour wintry bikepacking ramble through Scotland’s gloomy Grampians. Home. Yum. When it comes to bikepacking, there’s a world of options, not just limited to what kind of bike is best, but also about clothing, cooking equipment, sleeping systems - the list goes on. One hotly debated topic is the choice of sleeping arrangements, with tents and bivvy bags often fighting it out for top spot. In the morning (and if I’m honest, from when I found out about the ferry cancellation), I knew what I was going to do. As soon as you start from the Durness side, you are straight into a steep climb. On the way home, we both made a promise that we would be back again the following year. 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