Having fallen asleep so early last night, I was up at first light and set off without breakfast. River crossings are the primary hazard on the Cape Wrath Trail and avoiding crossings in spate may cause multi-day detours or multi-day delays. Wildwalkinguk is a blog run by myself and my wife in our spare time, and we pay for its running costs ourselves. As we knew we would have to re-trace our steps later, we left our backpacks by the side of the road about mile before the Cape. After the adrenaline rush and remote wilderness of the last few days, unexpectedly coming across hoards of people meant my walk was over. I headed across to Glen Douchary, got it wrong slightly and ended up going down into Allt Nan Caorach. A new Cape Wrath Trail route alternative for Assynt. I should have stopped at the hotel here, but it was too late for lunch time and too early to stop for the day, so I pressed on up a track into the woods to the Schoolhouse Bothy at Duag Bridge. We would be extremely grateful if you could consider using our links when you next need to buy something from our advertisers. I.e. I feel it is a shame to spoil these special places. There was a grass verge which made walking safer, but all the vehicles rushing past was a bit of a shock after the solitude of the hills. This can usually be determined by studying the flow forms of the water. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. A new Cape Wrath Trail route alternative for Assynt. It’s an old hunting lodge, dating from 1877, and is a whitewashed stone cottage with an additional one-room extension attached to the gable end. Today’s weather started bright and dry, with some cloud. It was quick to put up and could handle high winds. "This river doesn't look uncrossable. It made me a little concerned about what was ahead of me, but I didn’t chat to him for long. Once I’d eaten, I set off again, only to spot a bus shelter on the other side of the road where I could have eaten my dinner in the dry. Did you know? Who’s to know? The Cape Wrath Trail is an amazing walk for the experienced and I loved every minute of it. These relative heights are suited to the flow strengths that these rivers are likely to exhibit at our intended crossing points. It is possible to keep socks dry (if already dry) by removing shoes, then socks, replacing shoes and then crossing the river. The path is not waymarked and has many variations. Are you okay and do you need to address anything immediately? Well, not hungry so much, but every time I stopped to eat my pack got lighter, so 10am sounded like lunchtime to me! Cicerone guide ‘Walking the Cape Wrath Trail’. Do not pressurise or draw fellow participants into danger: We all have different thresholds for river crossings. The Cape Wrath Trail is a long distance walk from Fort William to the northwesternmost … You can start the day at Na Socachan, and finish just past A'Chuil bothy. However, it was still reassuring to join the path! In marginal conditions, and before continuing to a potentially more hazardous next river, do you need to reconsider? This can put you off your balance. Unknown measures: Be aware during the day that other solutions may have been devised. The day's weather forecast will be displayed the evening before and any meaningful changes highlighted each morning. I followed the detour and joined the vehicle track to Benmore Lodge. Those poles saved me on many occasions, especially on the Cape Wrath Trail: stopping dangerous slides, breaking falls, preventing me from sinking into deep bogs and helping on river crossings. The views were incredible from here, and no photograph I have does the place justice. This event requires numerous river crossings – generally expected to be shallow wades. I had no choice but to press on up the road to Croftown as I just couldn’t walk any further. I set off early and headed towards Glendhu Bothy, following the shore of the loch. This was the first time that I’d had a problem with midges on the whole walk. It was then a very enjoyable walk down the valley, passing a tent in a perfect spot by the river and cliffs. I woke early, had breakfast and left quietly, as there was no sound from the other room in the bothy. A great end to an amazing day. My plan was to camp at the top of the falls, and there were loads of great spots, but the area was still quite busy with tourists, even at 4pm. Participants must not bring or attempt to use ropes of their own to aid river crossings. We were lucky to hit low tide which meant we could walk across the sand. There were three river crossings (you only need to do two, see the bullet points below). I found this comfortable and manageable for a heavy pack. I must have been exhausted not to have spotted it! It’s a popular bothy now and often gets very busy. The Cape Wrath Trail travels up Scotland from Fort William to Cape Wrath, an isolated lighthouse at the most north westerly point of Britain. Thankfully there was a bridge over the river Carnoch as it was too dangerous to cross otherwise. Avoid crossing where there is a combination of many large boulders and fast flowing water. I finally got my chance to … There are many variations. The river was wide and deep due to the rain yesterday. It was used as a schoolhouse up until the 1930s, and up to 20 pupils came to school here, supervised by a teacher who probably lived on site. The Cape Wrath Trail is often referred to as Britain’s toughest long distance trail, and is an unofficial route through some of the most spectacularly wild parts of Scotland. Once I reached the viaduct, I felt that the Cape Wrath Trail had finished. As followers of this blog may be aware, I’m currently working on a replacement for the venerable North to the Cape to be published by Cicerone next year. I have loved every minute of the Cape Wrath Trail, and his comments made me realise that you have to take the bad bits as well as the good bits of any long-distance walk. I could have climbed over Ben Dreavie from here, but the summit was hidden in cloud and the going was likely to be pretty boggy. River crossings present a significant hazard on the Cape Wrath Trail. This is what I think has happened on the Pennine Way, and I feel that walk is now the poorer for it. Team Up: Use the assistance of another to cross the river, where possible, and consented. Cape Wrath Trail (South) Guided Walking Itinerary Daily Plan. Cape Wrath is not an easy place to get home from. That’s how rough the ground is around here and how challenging it can be to find a suitable camping spot! Vocal Communication: In noisy environments, generally caused by river noise and wind noise, greater time and efforts must be taken to communicate and to be heard, or that clear gestures used. If walking it north to south, it takes you from the north western tip of Scotland at the Cape Wrath lighthouse, through Knoydart, Torridon and Assynt, ending up at Fort William. This is a part of the Cape Wrath Trail that I had been worried about since I set off, as I’d read that it was very steep and exposed with some scrambling. Gary as the larger person is positioned upstream ©Ben Winston. It’s safe enough as long as you are careful, and it demands full concentration. Abandonment of course by the organisers or participants: Very unlikely, but possible in the very worst weather. A broken toe now would ruin the walk! In this advice we do not consider swimming as an acceptable method of crossing rivers (either deliberately or by accident) and our advice is intended to prevent floating and swimming. This crossing was a simple paddle as there had been little rain lately, but I can imagine this could get difficult if the river was in spate. News and advice from our Mountain Safety Team will be displayed each morning during the event (from 0500 in the main mess tent). © Ben Winston. Selection of crossing location: Be very selective on location. Filmed in September 2014, the changes to the advice now (Feb 2016) is that participants should always keep their shoes on to cross rivers, even if they choose to remove their socks / GoreTex Socks first and that rock hopping (as done by Shane) is not recommended. I wore the La Spotiva Trango TRK walking boots for this trip because they were lighter weight than my leather boot. Looking at my maps I could see that there were long ways around them if necessary, but the idea of more river crossings did cause me to feel a little more cautious. I knew I could do with a shower if I was going to be around people, so I decided to not be around people, not take the shower, and not detour to Ullapool. Unsupervised participants finding themselves at a Groin Deep river crossing MUST STOP racing and seek an alternative crossing location as a group with other participants. I had arrived at midday, so I got the place to myself. I ate the last of my chocolate here as I knew I had a resupply package waiting for me at the campsite the next day. Sunshine, bogs, river crossings and blizzards: we take a deep dive into the wonders and hardships of the Cape Wrath Trail, Britain’s toughest long-distance hike. Cape Wrath Classic is graded 4, with walks /hikes of long distances in remote countryside and rough and often pathless terrain, occasionally requiring river crossings. At this point, I have a confession to make – I didn’t walk all the way here. Consider the consequences of a fall and being washed downstream. River crossings. However, when river levels rise, there is an increased danger of serious injury and drowning. Cape Wrath trail route. I could really feel the weight difference as I set off on day 10, and it slowed me down for a while. I thought perhaps he would be better suited to a more popular, well-graded walk like the West Highland Way. I walked the Cape Wrath Trail in the summer of 2017. My midge head net paid for itself in seconds as I had never seen such a large swarm. Starting at Fort William and heading inexorably north to the northwestern tip of Scotland, the Cape Wrath Trail is 230 miles long, with around 12,000m of ascent. You have to find your own way from Fort William to Cape Wrath, the most north westerly point in the UK. My pace had slowed to around 1 mile an hour, but I pushed on as I had got it into my head that I would reach the hotel bar at Kintail Lodge rather than camp at the commercial site. I decided to carry on, wanting my solitude back! The path is not waymarked and has many variations. This rocky outcrop was great walking for me as I emerged from a gully perfectly placed to drop down to the river, with spectacular views across the valley to Lochan Fada. I really struggled with this climb and was very slow. (In my defence, it was a really big tree). Several things make the Cape Wrath Trail Britain’s toughest. The usual seasonal window for hiking the Cape Wrath Trail in summer-like conditions (i.e. I really enjoyed the walk today and it finished perfectly (by accident!) As followers of this blog may be aware, I’m currently working on a replacement for the venerable North to the Cape to be published by Cicerone next year. This is another wild and remote bothy that I can’t believe somebody used to live in. Thank goodness they had stopped where they did, as they may well have caught me completely stripped off washing in the river – I hadn’t even considered that other people might be around! I eventually found a flat enough spot to camp near Alltan Aonghais. He complained about the trail being rough and boring. The crossing of Loch Linnhe provided a somewhat dramatic start to the Cape Wrath Trail; the longest, toughest and most spectacular part of my trek across the Scottish highlands. Choose a section of river that is wider (often shallower), has a uniform riverbed, even flow and no deep channels. The previous couple of days had put me through it all which helped.

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