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The Cape Wrath Trail 2012 walk report Chapter 11 & 12
by Billymaca » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:02 pm
Route description: Cape Wrath Trail
Date walked: 14/05/2012
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The black stuff
Glendhu Bothy to Kinlochbervie
Today we awoke to the gentle whistle of the wind outside, it was dryer, overcast and a lot calmer than yesterday, during breakfast we again discussed how far to go! Because we didn’t have a weather report we decided to join another two days together and get to the Kinlochbervie Hotel, the original plan was only to go as far as Laxford bridge, Most of the walking was to be on the black stuff which we could cover relatively quickly and easily. Because of a poor phone signal we weren’t booked into the hotel, we were going to do this on the way and if we couldn’t get a room the backup plan was to go to the shelter of the ruins at Sandwood bay.
Following breakfast and packing up we were on our way along the track at the shore side, the sun was trying to break through, one minute it was bright the next dull, one minute wet the next dry. It was going to be one of those days where waterproofs and wind shirts were on and off like a Prostitutes underwear, stop start all the way. It was easy going along the track to Maldie where there was a new bridge and heavy construction taking place, Big machines and huge pipes everywhere,
This is where we turned right off the track leaving Loch Glendhu behind, onto another which leads uphill heading towards Reay Forest and Achfary, Still easy going on a good track uphill passing the lochs of an Leathaid Bhuain and Loch na Creige Duibhe which we guessed were going to be dammed due to all the marking posts at the bottom end and a new road being built to them on the opposite side. Once past the lochs the track veers away west and soon converges with another track where it was a right turn over some exposed rock strewn ground with a fantastic view of Ben Stack to your left, Reay Forest and Foinaven to your front. We had a 15 minute break out of the cold wind in the remains of a shieling at the top, it wasn’t much but it was the only shelter in the area.
Now begins the descent as you turn round the West side of Meall Diamhain exposing a view of the head of Loch More and Ben Sceavie in the background,
Continuing downwards and through the edge of Reay Forest, boggy in places, you soon pop out on the A838 at Lochmore Lodge, Here we turned left and began the rest of the days long plod on the horrible black stuff. The wind in the glen was cold but the sun was out. Still no phone signal to confirm the hotel booking! Onwards putting one foot in front of the other over and over again passing Loch Stack and Stack Lodge, with beautiful scenery all around us we progressed towards our next junction at Laxford Bridge now in a light drizzle.
A phone signal had now returned and a booking of a room was soon confirmed. On Reaching Laxford Bridge we turned right onto the A894, still raining, this was a busy road compared to the other, with long straight and wide sections. Now we were heading for Rhiconich hotel for our next break, surly this time we would get a fruit scone and jam! It seemed to take forever to get there, when we did arrive we were ready for a rest and a stock up of junk food.
Now refreshed by our hot cup of tea and NO fruit scone, the last leg of the day lay before us, it was only about four miles away. Simple but dull walking, I just can’t seem to switch on when walking on the black stuff! Passing through the scattered village of Achriesgill and down to the fishing village of Kinlochbervie, with its almost empty harbour,
First stop was the local shop where we were to stock up on celebratory food and drink for tomorrow at the cape and Kevaig Bothy, A tin of Haggis, a tin of peas, a pint of real milk and a bottle of Crabbie’s ginger beer(I’m T total) With packs laden with the extra weight we were soon at the hotel, I collected another parcel from the reception(a fly rod and reel and more food that I didn’t need) That evening we decided to opt for a bar meal, Steak pie and chips, Mmmm, that would hit the spot!. While we were eating, Shaun contacted the ferryman to organise our crossing tomorrow, when he came off the phone he wasn’t convinced that it was organised properly as the gentleman was in the pub sounding a bit, Ehh, how do I put it?****** Pished! So shaun also sent a text for when he woke up in the morning. We managed to get our stinking washing done but not dried by the hotel, it was going to be dried in the room on a makeshift washing line that we set up,
then it was time to catch up with home and prepare for the last leg of the walk before bed.
Reaching the Cape
Kinlochbervie to Cape Wrath
This was the day that it had all led up to; Cape Wrath was in our sights today. We were like kids on Christmas morning, awake early full of anticipation and excitement, packed up and with a good breakfast in us we headed off for the last time, with a renewed spring in our step we were out of the hotel as if it was our first day, turning left onto the road heading for Sheigra. The morning was dry and bright with a cool wind. The going was easy with gradual ups and downs passing the scattered village of Oldshoremore all the way to Blairmore where there is a sign indicating the direction through a gate to Sandwood bay. We stopped at the car park just a few yards on for a 15 minute break in the lee of the public toilets.
Back to the sign post and through a gate on a good track passing various lochs along the way. The ground around us was open moorland of heather and grass which gave us an indication of what the going was going to be like once we left sandwood bay where there was going to be no track or path. Passing the East side of Druim na Buainn is when you get your first glimpse of Sandwood loch below you, as you progress along the track Sandwood Bay comes into view like a picture being revealed with the turn of the next page. It is as beautiful as you imagine, worth every step of the Trail,
time has to be taken to soak in the vista before moving on across the beach and crossing the shallow burn that flows out of Sandwood Loch.
Now begins the hard work of the day, the first of four steep climbs for us before reaching the Cape. Once over the first the ground at the bottom was as we expected, boggy and full of tussocks, we decided to stick to the high ground close to the edge because it would be drier and easier underfoot, which it was.
In the distance we could see our goal, the lighthouse. We finally reached the road after crossing the flat bog which lies between Cnoc a Ghiubhais and the road itself, During a rest at the road side I had a look at my boots because my left foot was wet but not my right, I had been suspicious of this for the last couple of days. They were new boots at the start of the walk so water must have gone over the top when crossing the bog, No, they were falling to bits, a split between the sole and the upper and the material was breaking down.
Back to finishing the job in hand, off we went along the road finally rounding the foot of Dunan Mor to reveal the lighthouse.
It was over, pictures were taken and congratulations given to each other whilst we broke out the celebratory drinks and relaxed in the sun. What a view!
We had been told that there was a café at the cape but we weren’t sure if it was a wind up or not as the place looked deserted with no obvious signs of a café. We knocked on the door and we were welcomed in for refreshments, Tea and cakes, last chance to get a fruit scone and jam, “None! Unbelievable!” I don’t think there are any fruit scones in Scotland North of Fortbilly.
The chap from the lighthouse offered us a lift to the road end of Kervaig Bothy (I was taking that!) because we couldn’t get off the Cape until the morning, or so we hoped, given the uncertainty of Shaun’s phone call last night. I had now mentally switched off from walking anymore now that I had reached the end. From the road end it wasn’t far to the Bothy, what a spectacular setting, in a green park with its own beach which is flanked by cliffs. Stunning! It couldn’t get any better than this, or could it?
For the last time we got ourselves organised in the Bothy after scavenging for firewood on the beach, dinner was made and the fire was on, it was now time to relax in the warmth and reflect on all our experiences of the Trail. The sunset that night at the cape was the perfect icing on the proverbial cake; it lasted about 25 minutes while we stood there awestruck,
It could get better !
It just did !
Within a minute they were scone !
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- Location: Argyll
by gammy leg walker » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:37 pm
by mrssanta » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:43 pm
by frankieman » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:27 pm
by andyp » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:03 pm
Interesting to see other peoples' routes.
Not wishing to make you jealous, but ..... we got splendid homemade fruit scones with plenty of butter and jam at a little tea room that was part of a craft shop just before getting to Kylesku. They were fabulous and much needed (we had underestimated our food rations from Kinlochewe). We also stocked up with Mars bars and Cheddars here to supplement our rations until Kinlochverbie.
Kervaig bothy is in a fantastic location and makes a grand finale to the trip.
We also had a couple of nights at Sango Sands campsite (great facilities) in Durness to chill out afterwards, before tackling the considerable logistics of getting home (i.e. bus to Lairg, train to Inverness, bus to Edinburgh, bus to Sheffield, lift to back to Nottingham).
by Fellwanderer » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:10 am
Certainly inspired me to try it this time next year.
by whiteburn » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:54 pm
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by dunrig » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:29 pm
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by mountainstar » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:54 pm
And those pictures of the sunset from Kearvaig Bothy are excellent, probably a WH winner of the month
by coste_ » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:07 pm
Thoroughly enjoyed reading your report
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