(194 miles, 12/14 days)
This is a classic long distance walk across the most remote and barren country in Britain. Remote means beautiful in this case; a real wilderness experience that should be experienced by anyone who aspires to be a fan of the Great Outdoors (mind you I have not done it….yet!). The route starts at Fort William, follows the Great Glen before heading off to Glen Garry, Glen Shiel before diving in to the wilderness of the big glens of Affric and Mullardoch before bursting out at Strathcarron. Torridon and Ullapool (via the ferry) are passed before the route passes through the higher lands of Sutherland before scuttling along the coast, past Sandwood Bay to Cape Wrath. Just writing this makes me exhausted!
It is possible to complete this without a tent but it is difficult, some of the days may be too long to hit any kind of shelter or, if there is say a bothy, it may well be well off the beaten track. The trail is not yet recognized by the Scottish Natural Heritage and is therefore not waymarked in any way (somehow this is right) which adds to the challenge. David Paterson pioneered the route, a photographer and a lover of the wilderness that dominates much of Scotland and he saw it as an extension to the West Highland Way. This is odd as really they are chalk and cheese, the wild and the comparatively tame. There is also no official route so this can be varied as much as desirable (depending purely on the individual’s state of mind with some weather influence)
Suitable For: This is the most challenging route in Britain and only for those who are fully confident in walking in wilderness conditions. For those who are there is none better. Enjoy.
The 10 maps run from the south at Fort William and finish at Cape Wrath. There are some distance indicators under the relevant map (thanks to Cameron Mc Neish for these).
Fort William to Glengarry 21 miles
Glengarry to Tomdoun 12 miles
Tomdoun to Clunie 12 miles
Clunie to Morvich 14 miles
Morvich to Kililian in Glen Elchraig 12 miles
Kililian to Achnashellach 15 miles
Achnashellach to Kinlochewe 10 miles
Kinlochewe to Corrie Hallie 12 miles
Corrie Hallie to Oykel Bridge 25 miles
Oykel Bridge to Kylesku 25 miles
Kylesku to Rhiconich 18 miles
Rhiconich to Sandwood Bay 12 miles
Sandwood Bay to Cape Wrath 7 miles
Maps covering the area 1/50,000 Landranger: 41, 34, 33, 25, 19, 20, 15, 9
Places to Stay
http://www.capewrathtrail.co.uk/ A collection of thoughts and advice on the Cape Wrath Trail from those who have completed the trail including Cameron McNeish
David Paterson’s book “The Cape Wrath Trail” features some excellent photography and thoughts on the route.