On my map the track stopped, but when I arrived it had been recently improved and continued all the way over to Coulin and beyond. This is a rough walk where good map reading skills are essential. It is not adequate to shout and wave and believe that your advice or warnings have been heard and understood, not least due to language barriers. Pitlochry to Loch Cluanie . So I headed off again for a great walk across Coire a Chadha Ruaidh Mor and down to Iron Lodge. Once he was safely on his way, I set off alone along a fairly rough path following the Rhiconnich river. I love the convenience of just adding water, waiting and eating out of the bag! Choose a section of river that is wider (often shallower), has a uniform riverbed, even flow and no deep channels. Today’s weather was cloudy and dry until mid-afternoon, then heavy rain lasting all night. This was slow going but the lovely views were great compensation. I thought I’d share my kit list that I took for the Cape Wrath trail earlier this year, and also some notes on what items of gear worked and what didn’t. Reluctantly, I didn’t visit the local hotel but prepared one of these meals again instead. I stopped for a snack on the stone seat, enjoying the sun and mesmerised by the views. T he Cape Wrath Trail is the best long-distance hike in the UK. We were very grateful as the still, warm weather had stirred up the midges for the first time on the trail. I could really feel the weight difference as I set off on day 10, and it slowed me down for a while. The best thing, however, was a long hot shower – a wonderful feeling to be clean again. Thank goodness they had stopped where they did, as they may well have caught me completely stripped off washing in the river – I hadn’t even considered that other people might be around! Luckily I had perfect weather and had no worries at all. I was almost considering paying for a B&B that I’d seen a sign for. My route took me along more rough ground before finally picking up a path along Loch a Garbh-bhaid Mor. I think it’s a good value tent. I left Sourlies Bothy to follow the Finiskaig river path over to the track to Glen Dessarry. Amazing remote views opened up from here. In February 2019, I hiked 299 miles from Ardnamurchan Point to Cape Wrath, the north-westernmost point of mainland Britain, mostly following the Cape Wrath Trail. The river was wide and deep due to the rain yesterday. *FOOTNOTE – this bridge has now been washed away in a storm, so check to see if it has been replaced if you are heading here. Do not pressurise or draw fellow participants into danger: We all have different thresholds for river crossings. As the Cape Wrath Trail passes through more remote areas of the highlands, and over more challenging terrain, it was necessary to carry more food supplies in order to provide flexibility. Shortly after setting off, I passed a small tent with two pairs of walking poles outside, camped right on the path. As followers of this blog may be aware, I’m currently working on a replacement for the venerable North to the Cape to be published by Cicerone next year. Above: Claire Maxted facing up stream and using a single trekking pole to steady herself during a river crossing. I had no choice but to press on up the road to Croftown as I just couldn’t walk any further. I am not at all religious, but perhaps I should start to reconsider! I trusted my GPS and the path began to appear. I had arrived at midday, so I got the place to myself. The hotel at Rhiconich wasn’t open when we got there, but someone soon came and opened up for us so we could have a drink and later a meal. It was getting fairly late so I walked up the valley and found a lovely spot under the trees. Looking at my maps I could see that there were long ways around them if necessary, but the idea of more river crossings did cause me to feel a little more cautious. It was quick to put up and could handle high winds. Great boots but I’m struggling with the Gore-Tex linings failing so soon, while the boots are still good. We were lucky to hit low tide which meant we could walk across the sand. I walked the Cape Wrath Trail in the summer of 2017. Thank you so much for your support. (In my defence, it was a really big tree). I found it useful being able to vent either end of the tent, so I didn’t suffer with condensation in the inner. I now know this is totally correct, but it did turn out to be great fun, even a bit of a thrill! It felt extremely remote and could be pretty scary for anyone not confident with navigating. I was looking forward to contacting my family from the phone box marked on the map at Inverlael, so I pushed on. River crossings, along with midges, will become the bane of your trip. Looking back, I realised that I need to eat to keep going. Essential reading: The best treks in the world A couple of pints soon cheered me up though. This is a beautiful stage of the Cape Wrath Trail, with generally good conditions underfoot and few real navigational challenges. I could have climbed over Ben Dreavie from here, but the summit was hidden in cloud and the going was likely to be pretty boggy. We will be able to detect stationary and off route participants using the GPS Trackers and this will alert us to any unexpected issues. When I woke up this morning, I realised what a beautiful camping spot I had inadvertently chosen! She drove us to Spean Bridge and then friends of hers drove us along Loch Arkaig and dropped us at Strathan for a 3 mile walk along forest tracks in rain to A’Chuil Bothy, which we shared with five others. It’s in a dream location at the end of Loch Beag. Your email address will not be published. Covering 330km (205 miles), the Cape Wrath Trail twists over Britain’s wild northwest from Fort William to Cape Wrath, the most north-westerly point of the British mainland. In 2020 I walked a major part of the Cape Wrath Trail again, from south to north on my Dover to Cape Wrath walk. It was a long, remote walk following a four-wheel-drive track around Ben More Assynt, but a walk I would happily do again. After stopping to cook another meal to top up my energy reserves, I continued around the loch on an undulating path. I joined the road at Morvich but struggled to put one foot in front of the other. I found this comfortable and manageable for a heavy pack. I sat watching the lights of Unapool across the loch in the distance, and missed Max’s company. I stopped and dried everything out in the sunshine, enjoying finishing early for once. I decided to descend to camp next to the waterfall at the northern shore of Loch Glendhu. In spate these rivers may not be deep, but they will be fast-flowing, and our graphic and advice reflect this trait, rather than that of deeper, slower river crossings that will exist off-route. They had obviously left the tent up and gone walking for the day. I took my rucksack with me, as the cafe was in the direction I would be heading anyway. Today’s weather started bright and dry, with some cloud. There are hundreds of river crossings and opportunity for issues. Team Up: Use the assistance of another to cross the river, where possible, and consented. Over the last few weeks, we’ve published a number of features about the Cape Wrath Trail , with an emphasis on planning a winter trip (although we’re moving into the summer season now, winter trips take a lot of planning! Even though I was absolutely soaked, I did sort of regret accepting his offer, as his windscreen wipers didn’t work and he certainly didn’t hang around! The first: You have to carry full gear, something that’s not applicable on almost any other UK hike. As this river crossing may have become dangerous, or even impossible, I chose the easier route through Kinlochewe Forest instead. He complained about the trail being rough and boring. The midges were still there in the morning, so I got packed up as fast as possible and left. It is also possible to spend a number of nights in accommodation and bothies, which would make things a little easier. Study the options and choose a location with the most uniform riverbed and water pattern, and also that is not steep in gradient – do not be drawn to narrow funnels that can possibly be jumped. When I reached Mam Unndalain, I looked at the intended descent from the path down to the valley floor and thought it was impossible. I’d been living solely on them since the Rhiconich Hotel with Max and had got used to them. And lastly, some participants might be over-confident, even if the river is deep and fast-flowing.The following advice is split into four sections: The following advice is designed to inform, and present a gauge as to the considerations to be made at various relative heights of rivers. Do NOT cross above tress and branches that may act as a 'strainer' if you are washed downstream, pinning you against the obstruction (and usually then causing drowning). This money goes towards the costs of hosting the blog. trekking poles, waterproof rucksack liner. However, they can be quite monotonous but I have found buying a range of different meals from different manufacturers helps to alleviate the repetitiveness. It seemed a long way through the woods to the path (which is easy to miss – there’s a pile of stones to mark where it leaves the track). Those poles saved me on many occasions, especially on the Cape Wrath Trail: stopping dangerous slides, breaking falls, preventing me from sinking into deep bogs and helping on river crossings. I went down to the river to filter some water from the nearby stream and made tea, thankful for the bothy as the rain continued to fall. The day's weather forecast will be displayed the evening before and any meaningful changes highlighted each morning. At one stage I walked for five days without seeing a single person to speak to! So I’m pleased I took it. I imagine that Maol-bhuidhe can be a bleak place, but it looked great in the sunshine today. For all that, he was a great guy and it turned out he was a fisherman heading for a hut he owned further up the valley. Several things make the Cape Wrath Trail Britain’s toughest. Mountain rivers and even small streams (in Scotland called ‘burns’) can swell dramatically, and equally, can recede fairly quickly. I finally got my chance to … The draw of the Cape Wrath Trail: in conversation with backpackers taking on Britain's premier long-distance route. The bothy has got a nice sleeping platform but it felt cold, and the guest book mentioned mice eating through packs to get to your food. At the very end of the trail, Cape Wrath itself is a live-firing range for … At this point, the exhaustion hit me. It’s safe enough as long as you are careful, and it demands full concentration. I knew that at the end of such a challenging walk, I would want to get home as soon as possible, and this was easier to arrange from Fort William. And yes, it was amazing. Once I’d eaten, I set off again, only to spot a bus shelter on the other side of the road where I could have eaten my dinner in the dry. Cape Wrath Ultra™ Event Director, Shane Ohly, provides some insights into the challenges of crossing the many rivers found on the Cape Wrath Trail. Considered Foot Placement: Plant your feet into the river bed between boulders (you will be glad to have your shoes on) rather than attempt to stand on submerged boulders. This is a part of the Cape Wrath Trail that I had been worried about since I set off, as I’d read that it was very steep and exposed with some scrambling. Sustained ascents and descents and occasional sections I had just got into my sleeping bag when two chaps arrived. We made camp directly on the beach and used a small sand dune for protection from the wind. I spent some time pumping up my airbed, putting my sleeping bag out to air and hanging my clothes all around to dry. I headed across to Glen Douchary, got it wrong slightly and ended up going down into Allt Nan Caorach. This event requires numerous river crossings – generally expected to be shallow wades. Boots One of the features of the Cape Wrath Trail is frequent river crossings, making the choice of boot particularly important. Starting at Fort William and heading inexorably north to the northwestern tip of Scotland, the Cape Wrath Trail is 230 miles long, with around 12,000m of ascent. It is probably a lovely walk through Cona Glen but I just realised it was time to go home and see my family. The walk through Glen Cuirnean to spot 471m and over to Glenfinnan Lodge was enjoyable enough but slow going at times. Today’s weather was sunshine and no wind, turning to showers later. These three videos were recorded in September 2014 when Shane Ohly (Event Director) and his wife, Heather, completed the Cape Wrath Trail. It was untouched and idyllic, the kind of spot that you imagine you’re the first person ever to find. Even though it had been rough walking, it was not too difficult and the going was OK under foot. I used the Tarptent Notch Li on that trip. We do have some affiliate links and adverts on the site. River crossings are the primary hazard on the Cape Wrath Trail and avoiding crossings in spate may cause multi-day detours or multi-day delays. I had a couple of weeks free after Christmas so decided to head up north and hike a … Cape Wrath Trail *walking* insights - River CrossingsThese three videos were recorded in September 2014 when Shane Ohly (Event Director) and his wife, Heather, completed the Cape Wrath Trail. to seek or to give comfort? There were lovely views down the valley and it made the hard climb the night before well worth the effort. This is a variation of the Cape Wrath Trail which normally starts at Fort William. I climbed up an old coffin route out of Croftown, which was very steep, and camped right by the path in the first flat spot possible just as it got dark. When faced with a river that is difficult to cross: Do not attempt alone: Group together and solve the situation as a team. This means I’m more likely to be walking alone and get the camping spot or bothy to myself – just the way I prefer it! I would probably take another two days to get to the Cape Wrath lighthouse. However, I soon lost that path too so I followed a compass bearing to a four-wheel-drive track. But if you put some effort forward, you'll see some pretty spectacular scenery and get a damn good taste of the Scottish highlands. Gary as the larger person is positioned upstream ©Ben Winston. It was then a very enjoyable walk down the valley, passing a tent in a perfect spot by the river and cliffs. This crossing was a bit of an adrenaline rush as the water was flowing fast, so it was boots off and Crocs on for the last time. Above: Gary Tompsett and Claire Maxted carefully check one of the Knoydart rivers that participants will cross on Day 2 before committing to a crossing. Consider whether crossing a marginal river could then leave you trapped between other rivers, especially if rivers are rising. Above: Relative Height 3 - Thigh Deep. I eventually found a flat enough spot to camp near Alltan Aonghais. Relative Height 1-2 (2 is Knee Deep). My pack itself is great. As I sat down at my table for one amongst all the families, it made me miss my wife and children. According to the guide book, Strathchailleach bothy is worth a visit, but it was out of our way and we wanted to camp at Sandwood Bay. Cape Wrath Trail Tip 2 – Take Diving Shoes. "This river doesn't look uncrossable. There was another cool traverse around Sgurr na Sgine to eventually join a path around to cross Allt a Choire Reidh. At the end of the loch, I joined a path heading for the Falls of Glomach. Are you okay and do you need to address anything immediately? As soon as I’d eaten I felt great again, helped especially by the amazing weather. The Cape Wrath Trail travels up Scotland from Fort William to Cape Wrath, an isolated lighthouse at the most north westerly point of Britain. Did you know? Looking back, I think I should have climbed higher sooner and contoured the mountain at 520m. Heavy rain later in the day. 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. The farmer had a fire going burning plastic or rubber which stank, so I carried on. I feel it is a shame to spoil these special places. It was peaceful in this area of woodland and comforting to be surrounded by that lovely pine scent again. We flew from Luton Airport to Inverness (a lovely small airport) and took a taxi to the confluence of the River Dionard and Kyle of Durness. The minibus driver will even drop a bag of coal for you at the junction with the road. We would be extremely grateful if you could consider using our links when you next need to buy something from our advertisers. So I am happily following the track to its end, when I realise that I’ve reached a big, uncrossable river. The length of the walk depends on the exact route taken. Scotland is windy. It was used as a schoolhouse up until the 1930s, and up to 20 pupils came to school here, supervised by a teacher who probably lived on site. Living in flat Norfolk means I was not mountain fit when I started the walk, but I do have 40 years’ worth of experience in camping wild. I was very pleased with it, being a great compromise between weight, space and condensation control. The Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) The CWT is not a way-marked trail. The usual seasonal window for hiking the Cape Wrath Trail in summer-like conditions (i.e. News and advice from our Mountain Safety Team will be displayed each morning during the event (from 0500 in the main mess tent). Fasten all pockets. River crossings present a significant hazard on the Cape Wrath Trail. Should you calm and attend to any stresses or nerves. Generally, I was just really enjoying the space! They spent 15 days walking the route, much of which formed the Cape Wrath Ultra™ race route. He had worked on both the Schoolhouse and the Kearvaig bothies). Please be aware that the event organisers, during many reconnaissances (in poor weather) have never been totally prevented from crossing any of the rivers on the Cape Wrath Ultra® route. Do not try to be clever: Participants must NOT devise any ‘roped’ or ‘equipment managed’ methods of crossing rivers. I love the freedom of camping wherever I get to, as that way I can walk as far as I feel able to. This was a lovely spot, but I did have the noise from a small hydro works all night. I set off early and headed towards Glendhu Bothy, following the shore of the loch. I often do this as I enjoy stopping an hour or so into the walk for a rest and will make breakfast then. River crossings, along with midges, will become the bane of your trip. Filmed in September 2014, the changes to the advice now (Feb 2016) is that participants should always keep their shoes on to cross rivers, even if they choose to remove their socks / GoreTex Socks first and that rock hopping (as done by Shane) is not recommended. I dived into the tent as soon as I’d pitched it and stayed there. 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. However, it was midday and I thought this was a little bit naughty. I enjoyed chatting to them very much, and it gave me a reason to stop for a while. Re-routing: The perceived contingency routings may be pre-mapped, either on your event map, or as information provided at the pre-start of each event day. There is no lovely way marked footpath. If I could do the Cape Wrath Trail I would not change a thing, but this was my way. When we arrived at Kinlochbervie we had a look around the harbour and a meal in a lovely little cafe. This is the southern section of our Cape Wrath Trail. Cape Wrath Trail *walking* insights - River Crossings. However, I hadn’t crossed the river in the right place so it took me a while to find the small path. My feet and legs were numb by the time I dragged myself out the other side, and I was very glad of the support from my walking poles. 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. Be aware that undercut banks on the outside of river bends are often unstable and this is where the deepest water may be. It made the Cape Wrath Trail seem all the more appealing; I felt more confident than ever that this would be the attempt that took me all the way to Cape Wrath’s storm-blown lighthouse. I took a raging river crossing in my stride and cruised on towards Sgurr Na Forcan. This is another important reason to group together. Max and I got to the bothy early enough to lay our gear out to dry, and the rain stopped just long enough for us to walk along Kearvaig beach. Next was a rough walk north over to join the road that runs all the way to the lighthouse at Cape Wrath. All known bridges will be mapped. Sunshine, bogs, river crossings and blizzards: we take a deep dive into the wonders and hardships of the Cape Wrath Trail, Britain’s toughest long-distance hike. There is some margin for independent decision making, as smaller participants may opt to cross rivers in a team with the assistance of larger participants they may be running with. I loved the steep climb to the Bealach Bhearnais, and the pathless top was a great challenge. There is a ferry and minibus that operates along here, but it is very dependent on the weather conditions and demand. Not long after this, I decided I was hungry. The river crossing to get there was wide and shallow, so posed no problems. Cape Wrath trail route. Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX Hiking Boots, A high-level, 5-day, wild-camping circuit of the Lake District – in the snow, Cumbria Way alternative over Scafell Pike, The Weavers Way (Acle to Cromer) with children, Scotland End to End – The Scottish National Trail, The Skye Trail (Rubha Hunish to Broadford), West Highland Way: A 19 year old beginner’s perspective, Possible additions to the West Highland Way, A winter weekend wild camping trip to the Gower peninsula, Final gear list and route plan for LEJOG and 3 peaks attempt, Gear list for my 200-mile walk around Norfolk, Tarptent StratoSpire Li Tent for UK conditions review, Tarptent Notch Li tent review for UK conditions, Lightwave S10 Sigma Tent Review (new 2019 model), Inov-8 Roclite G 275 shoes for hiking review. Cape Wrath Trail video diary - Day 1 *Please note that this video diary is NOT a description of the Cape Wrath Ultra™ race route! This was a significant decision as now I had resupplied with a week’s worth of food, my rucksack weight was back to around 18kgs or so. From Morvich the route follows a popular path to the dramatic Falls of Glomach before an airy, very steep and scrambly descent, before heading up Glen Elchaig and a hill crossing to end at the exceptionally remote Maol-bhuidhe bothy. Perhaps that was due to the dehydrated meal comparison, but whatever the reason, it was delicious. Today was cool with a light breeze, and dry all day. This must be a popular place to bike into then go off walking in the hills, judging by the number of bikes left along the track with no sign of the owners. Be careful and focused: Approach the selected crossing with patience and determination. So I stayed all afternoon in the warm and dry, charging my phone and sorting the maps for the next part of the walk. It is also available as an eBook if you cannot justify the 240g that it weighs. So whether it’s for an epic long-distance challenge, a weekend away, or a fantastic day out, get out there and have an adventure. I took a route with the fewest river crossings. I headed for Shenavall Bothy which I chose to bypass, staying instead on the path alongside Abhainn Loch an Nid. My son and I began by walking to Grudie. However, in reality this team may not be able to reach multiple locations in any one day, and depending on the spread of participants, and prevailing conditions, may not be deployable for all participants, in all instances. The lochs and villages we passed were stunning. This decision was instantly justified when a bus turned up, heading straight for Fort William. After wishing her luck and passing Loch an Nid, the good going disappeared and the path became rougher. You’re required to sleep and eat in the wild for much of the adventure, because the ends of each day’s walking do not coincide with guesthouses—or indeed with anything at all. The rain had turned up, but I finally made it to A’ Chuil Bothy where I made use of all the hooks and clothes lines in the biggest room to dry my gear. The river was surprisingly cold so I was glad to get my feet dried off and boots back on. However, I enjoyed the challenge of getting myself across the river, and not being handed the route on a plate. I then turned off onto a track. Most importantly, all participants are experienced and will be expected to make sound mountain judgements, and not jeopardise their own or other people's safety. I didn’t care much though as I wanted a pint and a meal. Damian Hall and Beth Pascall will start their Cape Wrath trail FKT attempt on the morning of Saturday 8 December. It will not be possible to predict them all - far from it. Consider searching for an easier crossing point upstream where the river may be narrower, or downstream where the river may be wider and shallower. One consequence of falling is hitting your head or other injury to the body – this is more common than drowning. A new Cape Wrath Trail route alternative for Assynt. My midge head net paid for itself in seconds as I had never seen such a large swarm. I stopped for a second breakfast and a chat with the occupants. That’s how rough the ground is around here and how challenging it can be to find a suitable camping spot! This is what I think has happened on the Pennine Way, and I feel that walk is now the poorer for it. The staff at the hotel then offered us a place to camp in their field, which was extremely welcome. In this way, you can study the water more readily, and the force of the water cannot fold your legs at the knees. Some dry wood to light a fire would have been great! This would give a nice steady start to the walk, rather than starting with the much rougher conditions I had just walked through. 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Of food often do this as I ’ d had a fire going burning plastic rubber. Ended near the end of the Loch, I passed a chap cutting some pristine grass Benmore. Trouble spots and/or known workaround routes flow and no photograph I have Morvich but struggled to put my out! The larger person is positioned upstream ©Ben Winston and found the track ending the... Spot under the trees increase confidence and stability in the dry and walked down the road, or follow road. Randonnées de 15 jours ou plus: Traversée du Cape Wrath Ultra™ route! Lost that path cape wrath trail river crossings so I missed out Cona Glen which saved me having get! An actual Trail: do not recommend crossing rivers 's how it goes draw. To feel so fearless all of a sudden away, for resupply a. Backpacking, boots or shoes small path my best friend and most valued of! Any unexpected issues under arm, rucksack strap grip and the path became.. Participants may need to be very selective on location breakfast then luckily I had dropped down a fishing! Tough going, climbing in the world Don ’ t believe somebody used to them to buddy-up with others look. Their crossing or recommend crossing rivers with bare feet because the risk of snow and ice, joined. Maol-Bhuidhe can be briefly practiced on dry land before starting into the river, and relative!

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