The Cape Wrath Trail

Wide open spaces and Loch Bhraoin
Wide open spaces and Loch Bhraoin

Summary:
A challenging walk of 222 miles (357 kilometres) and at with nearly 10,000 metres of ascent, climbing more than the height of Mount Everest in 18 days.

The Cape Wrath Trail is generally regarded as the hardest walking challenge in Great Britain. There is no official route, nor any defined path but the overriding premise is to walk in the remote and wild north west of Scotland from Cape Wrath to Fort William. I planned the walk in the winter of 2010/2011 as part of my Great British Walk. It was the part of the long walk which I anticipated more than any other, the romantic thoughts of walking in wilderness and solitude thrilling me before I embarked on the journey.

One of the challenges of the walk is getting to Cape Wrath in the first place as if you walk the Cape Wrath Trail from north to south you will have to reach the cape by means of the Durness Ferry. Unfortunately for me the weather was bad on my arrival and so I had to make my start from Faraid Head on the northern tip of the Scottish coast near Durness. Despite the setback I enjoyed the first stage alternative with the annual Cape Wrath marathon runners!

There were many highlights on my version of the Cape Wrath Trail. Amongst them were the views to Foinaven and Arkle on the walk from Rhiconich to Loch Stack. Fringing the west side of Ben Stack was also great and afterwards the thrilling sight of bays, inlets and lochs near Kylesku. Then there was the majestic mountain that is Quinag, Eas a Chual Aluinn waterfall, Inchanadamph and the Bone Caves and then Knockan Crag. There was exciting views of Suilven from the foothills near Stac Pollaidh. Inverpolly was simply wondrous. After the interlude in Ullapool I enjoyed more mountain majesty beside An Teallach and then through the remote mountain pass to Loch an Nid before heading to Kinlochewe and more marvellous views to the white mountains of Beinn Eighe and Siloch. After Kinlochewe there was Strathcarron and Loch Carron and then the brilliant walk from Killian to Loch na Leitreach and the Falls of Glomach. After coming down to earth after the fantastic waterfall it was onto Invershiel and Shiel Bridge from where I should have tackled the Five Sisters of Kintail instead of taking the road pass to Loch Cluanie and more road followed to Invergarry before I followed the Great Glen Way on the final two days to Fort William. A breathtaking journey.
Stage Miles Kilometres Ascent (m)
Faraid Head to Kyle of Durness 4.5 7.1 90
Kyle of Durness to Rhiconich 13.0 21.0 353
Rhiconich to Loch Stack 8.0 12.8 441
Lock Stack to Unapool 11.0 17.8 668
Unapool to Inchnadamph 13.2 21.3 1,085
Inchnadamph to Knockan 12.9 20.8 493
Knockan to Drumrunie 11.8 19.0 660
Drumrunie to Morefield 8.1 12.9 270
Morefield to Ullapool 2.8 4.4 95
Ullapool to Corrie Hallie 14.3 23.2 810
Corrie Hallie to Kinlochewe 19.6 31.5 1,038
Kinlochewe to Strathcarron 17.1 27.5 684
Strathcarron to Loch na Leitreach 15.9 25.6 768
Loch na Leitreach to Invershiel 8.9 14.3 645
Invershiel to Cluanie Inn 12.4 20.0 538
Cluanie Inn to Invergarry 23.1 37.2 706
Invergarry to Strone 19.1 30.7 312
Strone to Fort William 6.6 10.6 78
Stage Miles Kilometres Ascent (m)
Faraid Head to Kyle of Durness 4.5 7.1 90
Kyle of Durness to Rhiconich 13.0 21.0 353
Rhiconich to Loch Stack 8.0 12.8 441
Lock Stack to Unapool 11.0 17.8 668
Unapool to Inchnadamph 13.2 21.3 1,085
Inchnadamph to Knockan 12.9 20.8 493
Knockan to Drumrunie 11.8 19.0 660
Drumrunie to Morefield 8.1 12.9 270
Morefield to Ullapool 2.8 4.4 95
Ullapool to Corrie Hallie 14.3 23.2 810
Corrie Hallie to Kinlochewe 19.6 31.5 1,038
Kinlochewe to Strathcarron 17.1 27.5 684
Strathcarron to Loch na Leitreach 15.9 25.6 768
Loch na Leitreach to Invershiel 8.9 14.3 645
Invershiel to Cluanie Inn 12.4 20.0 538
Cluanie Inn to Invergarry 23.1 37.2 706
Invergarry to Strone 19.1 30.7 312
Strone to Fort William 6.6 10.6 78
Feedback and Suggestions:

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(Note: Walking without proper preparation can be dangerous. Information and downloads on this website are provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check the material and use accordingly. Postscript: My walk reports are not route guides and should not be treated as such. They are written with personal reflections of my walks)


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