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The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath


Postby mountainstar » Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:16 pm

Route description: Cape Wrath Trail

Date walked: 02/05/2009

Distance: 326 km

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Link to part 2

Day 13
Thurs12th Glendu to Rhinconich. Approx 17 miles.


Map of part 3 Glendu to Cape Wrath & Durness

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Weather; sunny, some patchy cloud later, warm, breezy.
Up at 7.30 and away by 9.10am, very good tracks today to start with, followed the Loch west for 2 miles until I reached a bridge, from there a path led over a 400metres pass (11.30am) and then down to Achfary by noon, now there was 4 miles of road walking alongside Loch Stack
51 Ben stack.JPG
Ben stack

52 Arkle.JPG
Arcle

53 Foinaven.JPG
Foinaven

until I went off road again at Lochstack lodge and headed towards the bulk of Arkle ahead, I was going to camp between the 2 Lochs at the foot of Arkle, but as it was only 2pm I thought I might as well press on to Rhinconich, which would give me more options of what to do in the next few days. Soon I had to leave the path and head across some rough ground for several miles passed two long lochs, eventually picking up a path again at the end of the second loch, this pathless section was hard going and I was very glad at least it was fairly dry underfoot now, it would be horrible in wet weather. I reached Rhinconich at 4.15pm, pretty tired. I camped in front of the newer bridge just 20metres from the hotel, which has a lovely view across Loch Inchard. I picked up the food parcel and found the management and staff very helpful and obliging here, even though I wasn’t stopping in the hotel. It was nice having a couple of pints later at the hotel, watching the sun set across the loch,
54 Loch Inchard.JPG
Sunset, Loch Inchard from Rhinconich.

pity the forecast for the next few days was for more unsettled weather moving in, it remained cloudless until I went to bed later. That evening I had a text from Michelle with bad news, she had walked from Oldshoremore to the new Military fence a few miles north of Sandwood bay, only to find Red flags flying, barring anyone from entering any further, so that was her trek over, she never made it to the end, I felt really sorry for her, and just hoped I would have better luck with going there over the weekend, to come all this way and not making it to the end, didn’t bear thinking about..
Day 14
Fri 14th Rhinconich to Stathchailleach Bothy (248658) Approx 12.5 miles

Weather; mainly cloudy, a few showers, windy and cool.
Up at 7.55am to the promised cloud, but at least it was dry as I packed up and set off at 9am. I walked along the road for about 2.5 miles then got a lift to Kinlochbervie, saving 1.5 miles of further road walking, just as I was approaching the Spar shop, (there are 2 shops in Kinlochbervie, The spar shop is by far the best stocked one) who popped out of a Picture Gallery to greet me was Michelle! Who it turned up had been offered to sleep in there overnight after returning from her disappointing journey back from her failed Cape trek the day before. I think the owner had taken pity on her and her story of bad luck. She was really **** off, and said that she had burst into tears when she had reached the military fence, and realised that she could go no further. She suggested I ring for information, I was told that there was “possibly” action going on this Saturday, but not on the Sunday. Even if there wasn’t any action going on the red flags “might” be still flying, and that a new notice “might” be put on the notice board at the fence gates to indicate if there was or wasn’t action going on…work that one out! really I was no better off, and this was to be the last time that I would have mobile phone coverage, so couldn’t ring up Saturday morning for an update, so I had to just carry on and hope & prey! We talked for an hour, catching up on our adventures since we last saw each other, and as she had never been any further than Fort William was amazed of the wonderful mountain scenery she had passed in the last few days. So I said farewell again, Michelle was waiting for a bus that would take her to Inverness later, and from there home to the South of England. So I was of at 11am, by now some showers were starting to come in, I walked for about 1.5 miles and got another lift to Blairmore, where the path to wonderful Sandwood bay starts, this is a dreary walk, but is absolutely worth it to reach what must be the most stunning beach in Britain.
55 Sandwood Bay.JPG
Sandwood Bay

56 Sandwood Bay.JPG
Sandwood Bay

58 Sandwood Bay.JPG
Sandwood Bay

59 Sandwood Bay.JPG
Sandwood Bay

The wind was now up, so the breakers were crashing in, and although there wasn’t any sun, the moody and dark threatening clouds above set the scene. I had planned to camp here originally, but as it was now only 12.50pm and the weather was supposed to get worse, I decided to go the extra 2 miles to Staithchailleath Bothy for the night. I left the bay at 1.40 and reached the Bothy at 2.30pm,
61 Strathchailleach bothy.JPG
Strathchailleach bothy

62 Strathchailleach bothy.JPG
Strathchailleach bothy

where I met Bob Tateson, the new maintenance organiser for the Bothy. We had a nice evening in front of a peat fire, apparently this Bothy has one of the best peat banks to supply it’s needs of any other, and is why the notorious Sandy was able to live here for many years, and who’s painting can still be seen on the walls, his story’s make an interesting read. During the evening I could hear explosions going off in the distant north… oh dear!
Day 15
Sat 15th Stathchailleach Bothy to Cape Wrath, and onto Kearvaig Bothy. Approx 6 to CW/4miles to bothy.

Weather; cloudy, Rain, cold & windy.
Up at 7.30am, Bob wished me luck when I left at 8.20, I needed it now more than ever! The way north from here is mainly trackless, and can be very boggy, but I managed to keep to mainly firm ground, but it’s a tiring route with it’s many ups & downs, I reached the fence to find the red flags flying and no new notice posted, somehow I wasn’t surprised. I knew that now this didn’t necessary mean that there was action going on, and as I had not heard any firing in the distance up to now, I made the decision to carry on, keeping eyes and ears peeled, luckily I did the right thing, as nothing was seen or heard of for the rest of the day. The weather was really foul as I reached my goal at Cape Wrath at 11.25, I would have liked to have stopped and taken in the views and the sense of achievement (if it had of been a nice day) but it looked an inhospitable place that day, so I only stopped for 5mins, took a couple of pictures and quickly headed back down the road to Kearvaig Bothy.
63 Cape Wrath.JPG
Cape Wrath

1hr 10mins later I reached the Bothy situated overlooking another lovely sandy bay.
65  Kearvaig bothy.JPG
Kearvaig bothy

I changed into dry clothes, but I was still cold, so got in my sleeping bag for a couple of hours to keep warm. Later in the evening the rain eased, I’d already searched the beach for driftwood…nothing, but there was some left at the Bothy to make a fire for 2 or 3 hours, which was very welcome, warming me up nicely thank you.
64 Kearvaig bothy.JPG
At last warming up! Kearvaig bothy

I had a good nights sleep except for the appearance of a little mouse that woke me at 2.30am, and scurried around for 10 mins, before leaving again.
Day 16
Sun 16th Kearvaig Bothy to Dourness Ferry Approx 7miles.

Weather; cloudy, cool and a few showers to start, sunny later.
Up a 7.20am, I had to get my timing right to catch the ferry (tel. 01971511376) over the Kyle of Durness at 10.45am, so away by 8am, up the track to the road for an easy walk in improving weather to reach the jetty by 10.30am, good timing, I could see a large group of people on the far side waiting to cross, so many today that he had to make 2 crossings to get them all over.
66 Kyle of Durness.JPG
Kyle of Durness

My plan for today was to camp at Durness, unless I could get a lift south to either Scourie or Ullapool, so I started walking to Durness, but stopped and hitched any cars that headed south, after walking for around a mile I got a lift as far as Rhinconich, then after about another mile from there got a lift to Scourie, I decided not to push my luck any further and camp there the night at the lovely campsite overlooking the bay, so after a well needed shower I sat in the sunshine again, then departed to the hotel bar for some well earned pints of real ale and a meal…happy days!

On Monday, my taxi (wife), would arrive to pick me up, having driven over 2 days with a night in a hotel in Carrbridge en route, bless her.

So that was it, I had done it, and it was fantastic, my best long distance trek ever, even though the weather wasn’t always at its best. If anyone fancies doing it, I can thoroughly recommend it, but get some other easier and shorter treks done first, choose your equipment and tailor it carefully, and do lots of careful planning ahead, and you won’t regret it.

Notes
Total mileage was approx 202.6 miles from Glenfinnan to Cape Wrath, plus another 13 miles to the bothy & ferry. Of this I skipped around 23 miles of the road walking by hitching lifts.

Food parcel 1 to Ratagan / powdered tea / breakfast bars / banana chips / dried fruit / isotonic sweets /isotonic drink powder / 2 x dehydrated meals (home made) / peanuts / misc : razor / soap.
Food parcel 2 to Kinlochewe / powdered tea / breakfast bars / banana chips / isotonic drink powder / isotonic sweets / dehydrated meals (home made) / peanuts / misc: razor / soap
Food parcel 3 to Inchnadamph / powdered tea / breakfast bars / banana chips / isotonic drink powder / isotonic sweets / day snacks for 3 days / 5 x dehydrated meals (home made) / peanuts. misc: razor / soap / wetwipes / toilet paper / Battery charger for Camcorder / Camera.
Kit List Thermarest/ Ajungilak Air Pillow/ Rab 3 season down Sleeping bag/ Silk liner/ Mountain equiptment AR ultralight 2 Tent/ Pocket rocket gas stove / Primus windshield/ Titanium pan 1 Ltr (used also to eat meals out of) / Titanium 500 ml (Pan-Kettle-Mug)/ Pot cozy/ Titanium cutlery set/ Lexan spoon/ Scourer/ Lighter/ small Multi knife/ repair kit/ Fenix torch/ 500 lt Lexan Bottle/ Flexy 2ltr water holder/ Headtorch/ Spare batteries AA & AAA/ Puri tablets/ Trowel/ Photo-stat Maps/ Paperback/ Sunglasses/ Sunlotion/ Clock-Weather station/ Walking pole/ Compass/ Midge nets/ Midge repel/ Wetwipes/ Ear plugs/ Drink bottle/ Phone/ Freeloader & Supercharger adapter/ Olympus compact camera/ Sony Camcorder/ toileteries/ packtowel/ First aid kit
Clothes ect Boots: Asolo matrix flame gtx ( not impressed, leaked badly on first real test in wet weather, they went back to the shop for an exchange when I got home)/ Adidas Hut shoes/ Gaiters/ Walking socks x 3/ Thin Socks x2/ Sealskin Waterproof socks/ 3 x Lowe alpine briefs/ Long Sleeved Berghaus tech baselayer/ Aldi Merino tee/ Lowealpine tee/ Montane featherlight smock/ Lowe alpine Micro Fleece with nylon shell/ Montane Synthetic top/ Montane Terra Walking trousers/ Ron hill tracksters/ Shorts/ Thin Fleece hat/ thin Gloves / Lowe alpine Waterproof pants/ Marmot Waterproof jacket.
Food taken,
powdered tea / breakfast bars / banana chips / dried fruit / isotonic drink powder / day snacks for 3 days / 2 x dehydrated meals (home made) / peanuts / isotonic drink powder.
All of this fitted into a Berghaus Airflow 3. 50ltr Rucksack.

I have now posted a report on my other trip done in July 2009, Alternative Cape Wrath trail... central section; Strathcarron to Fort William. Part 1. Which may be usefull for information for anyone who wants to go on this route, the link is below:-
http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3090&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a
Attachments
60 Sandwood Bay.JPG
Sandwood Bay
Last edited by mountainstar on Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
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mountainstar
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby HighlandSC » Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:37 pm

An excellent final installment of the trip. Well done on completing it :)

And credit to the wife-taxi for an epic trip herself!

Great info at the end there- what's Photo-stat Maps?
Last edited by HighlandSC on Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby mountainstar » Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:50 pm

Just scanned copies parts of OS maps, saving taking several whole maps, saving weight and room.
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby HighlandSC » Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:54 pm

Oh right I see, it is very handy doing that- I make good use of the nice big colour photo copier at work for that :shh:
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby Dannyboy » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:02 pm

Niice! :D :D
That would be an excellent walk- though not sure id have the stamina for that.
Did you not get a bit sick of banana chips?!
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby mountainstar » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:31 pm

As I don't like porridge for breakfast, a few Banana Chips and a Couple of breakfast bars were my other options. so they did the job.
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby mountainstar » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:34 pm

Just a note on the pictures, I thought that I had put them all in where they should have been, but some seemed to have been jumbled about elsewhere, also the reason I did it in 3 parts was that you can only download so many pictures in to one report.
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby mountain coward » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:48 am

Stunning scenery on that walk isn't it? I just love Arkle & Foinaven - can't wait to get up and do those... Never been to Sandwood Bay, although I have been to Cape Wrath. It is a beautiful beach - I think I slightly prefer the Harris beaches but it is certainly a beauty!
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby davetherave » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:01 pm

What a fantastic read, all 3 parts was very interesting indead. All the info at the end will be of great use to anybody looking to do any kind of long distance treks.

Thanks
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby foggieclimber » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:02 pm

What an absolutely fantastic trilogy of reports.

I have never been interested in long low-level walks until seeing your report.
This just looks incredible compared with the likes of the West Highland Way.

Have stayed in several of the bothies that feature. Great to see them again.
Lots of brilliant photos.

Thanks for taking the time to share this.
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby CurlyWurly » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:03 pm

Amazing report - read this on the train coming to work today, awesome!

Interesting point you make about your Asolo boots leaking. I have a pair of these and have never had an issue although some reviews on a website said they leaked. Their production must be a little 'hit and miss' I suspect...
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby HighlandSC » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:15 pm

A guide who I did some navigation training with had a pair of Asolo boots and swore by them. He gets a new pair at least every year he said. As with anything....always a bad apple amongst the good ones...
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby CurlyWurly » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:32 pm

Yeah, my Girlfriend's four season boots are Asolo and she says they are amazing. Hence the reason I bought a pair when my three season boots needed replacing
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby Paul Webster » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:49 pm

Second what everyone is saying. But reckon it should really be called the North West Highlands Bothies Trail - just how many can you fit into one walk 8)
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Re: The Cape Wrath trail part 3 Glendhu Bothy to Cape Wrath

Postby David.Ferguson » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:17 pm

Terrific reports.What an epic to share. A great read.

Thanks

David.
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