The Cape Wrath Trail is a long distance walk from Fort William to the northwesternmost point of mainland Britain, Cape Wrath. The route is unmarked and there is no official line. It is a superb route for very experienced long-distance backpackers, passing through magnificent wild landscapes for most of the route, with the freedom to choose your own exact route; we cover both the common variations starting via Glenfinnan and via the Great Glen.
I attempted the Cape Wrath Trail for a second time in July 2017.
The original plan was to complete the trail in approximately 15 days while recording my progress as a video blog.
I would be walking the first 4 days solo before meeting up with my dutch friend at Shiel Bridge.
Unfortunately due to extremely sodden wet, blistered feet plus navigation issues, I only made it as far as Shiel Bridge before giving up. So I now share with you my 4/5 day expedition, presented in the form of 4 videos and one photo album of The Cape Wrath FAIL!
I arrived at Fort William late afternoon and spent the first evening at Glen Nevis campsite before making a start from Camusnagaul the next morning. It stayed mostly dry as I walked approximately 18 miles between Camusnagaul and Glenfinnan. I was able to follow my Harvey's map through Cona Glen without getting lost and after a long days walking, I eventually found a fairly decent spot to set up camp by the River Callop, about 2 miles short of Glenfinnan.
I make my way through Glenfinnan, Glen Pean and Glen Dessary covering 12 miles and climbing to a height of 598m to eventually arrive at A'Chuil bothy. I stop for a Coffee break at Corryhully bothy. The plan was to stay in A'Chuil bothy but there was already 4 people inside using both rooms so I settled for another night under the stars. Another guy called Blake from the U.S. (also walking to Cape Wrath) turned up and found a camping spot further down.
On day 3, I have Coffee in the bothy before making my way towards Barisdale Bay (15 miles), stopping for a quick break at Sourlies bothy en-route. The plan was to stay at the bothy at Barisdale Bay or make use of the campground there but the route along the River Carnoch took much longer than expected. I ended up wild camping somewhere at the top of the River Carnoch, settling down quite late but just in the nick of time as it began to get dark.
Day 4 and 5
On the final two days of my Cape Wrath Fail, after climbing to a height of 878m, (Great way to start the day - not!) I pass through Barisdale Bay (where I stop for some lunch at the bothy) before making my way along Loch Beag to Kinloch Hourn.
I popped into the tearoom at Kinloch Hourn hoping to get some juice and maybe a snack but felt rather unwelcome by the owner who was quick to inform me that he only sells Tea and Fruitcake, making me feel like one!
I continued on past Kinloch Hourn, climbing a very steep hill towards the Coire Reidh but idiotically, I turned off the main track too early and ended up climbing the wrong hill. This is where it all went wrong.
I wasted over an hour here, realising I'd gone wrong I descended to the Coire Reidh, directly down the steep heathery slopes to get back onto the main track, tripping up over myself and almost breaking my leg.
Back on track, I thought I could still make it over the hills to Shiel Bridge to meet Thomas but due to my mistakes, I was way behind schedule. I followed the track crossing the Coire Reidh passing a tent pitched up near a wooden hut and continued for a short distance until the track disappeared at the next river crossing. This is the point where I became confused as the map indicates that you need to work out your own path in order to navigate over the hills to Shiel Bridge.
By this time it was getting dark, I knew I was doomed until the morning so I threw up my tent in the most flattest place I could find, which wasn't actually flat, I think it was beside the Coire Mhalagain. I was exhausted and dehydated and for some reason craved a Chocolate Milkshake, the best I had was a Hot Chocolate sachet so I mixed it up in cold water and drank it (the thought of it is quite rank now) before falling asleep and ending my absolute nightmare of a day!
I woke up to a stunning morning as I quickly packed up at 5:30am and began to drag myself up the pathless hill.
I must have been slightly off route as I ended up bagging some random munros, taking in some fantastic views as I made my way towards Glen Shiel. By lunchtime the main road into Shiel Bridge eventually came into view, I was still very high and off route and just decided to descend to the road as quickly as possible. It took me about 3 hours to get down there and I was still 5 miles from Shiel Bridge. I had to hobble along the side of the road with sore feet in my damp boots and nobody offered me a lift. The time I finally got to Shiel Bridge it was about 4pm, my hiking buddy Thomas had already left and I decided I was going home on the next bus.
I could have caught up with Thomas and continued the trail if my feet had stayed in good condition but my boots had become saturated on the second day of the trip and I had been unable to get them dried out, causing my feet to severely blister. I think my boots were also about half a size too small.
So anyway that's the story of my second "Cape Wrath Fail".
I'm going to try again, start to finish sometime between May and September.
If anyone would like to join me, feel free to message me and we can talk and make some arrangements.
Thanks for reading/watching.
You can view the photo collection here: