The Graceful Cyclists

Cycle touring and other adventures

Cape Wrath Trail – tough but worth it

The Cape Wrath Trail is as remote as anything gets in the UK. It isn’t remote in the Australian sense (which is something I struggled with) but you can walk for days without seeing a car which is probably as wild as anywhere in the UK can be.

If you’ve already read my more detailed posts on the CWT you’ll know I struggled a bit with the hike, a bit from the extremes of weather we experienced, a bit from poor footwear choice and mostly from the walk just not being what I expected.

The trail isn’t so much a single trail as a collection of estate tracks linked together by small footpads traditionally used by deer stalkers or sheppards. The crew who worked the route out have done a fantastic job of linking together such a long and interesting route, but for anyone considering the trail make sure you cross reference all the sources you can find because each one will describe things a bit differently.

I think a summary of the things I wish I had know before starting the track is:

  1. It is a mixed up trail following A LOT of estate roads (fire trails to Australians) which means you do a lot of kilometres on hard ground. Make sure you wear cushioned and forgiving shoes – I wore heavy boots and suffered for it.
  2. The rest of the trail often isn’t a trail and even in good weather you’ll trampling through bogs getting very wet feet. We didn’t find the balance of quick drying and waterproof and again wish we had.
  3. The days described are long. We weren’t hugely fit going into it, and some of the 1 day sections were hard. Our longest day was almost 40km, but most days seemed to end up being at least 3-5km longer than the guides said. I’d put this down mostly to route finding and squiggling around rivers.
  4. None of the photos you’ll see do it justice. The terrain is spectacular and changes frequently, most days you’ll go from walking beside lochs to climbing belachs and everything in between.

Some of the tips we learnt from other hikers would probably be:

  • There aren’t many trees in Scotland so hammocks aren’t the best camping option, and it is hard to find something to pee behind.
  • Zip up bug nets for tents are essential. Midges will find any gap and swarm through – they really just want to be friends.
  • Pack rafts are cool! One of the Martin’s carried one and we were so jealous watching him paddle along while we pounded along yet another loch.

In summary this is an amazing hike. We are so glad we did it, and we might still come back and finish the remaining sections. If you are considering having a go just make sure you are prepared and have researched, and really think about your shoes!

Thanks for checking in!

You can find my more specific posts here

Morvich to Kinlochewe

Kinlochewe to Inverlael

Ullapool to Inchnadamph

Kinlochbrieve to Cape Wrath

Categories: Scotland, United Kingdom

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