cape wrath lighthouse

Cape Wrath trail a long distance odyssey

What every break from 9 to 5 work needs. An epic long distance trekking adventure. Think of Scotland and most of you will instantly think of the West Highland Way. A well marked walking route between Fort William and Glasgow. Having completed this 100 mile trail in the late 1990’s I was looking for a different challenge. Step forward the Cape Wrath trail.

Cape Wrath a unique walking route

The Cape Wrath trail is an ultra long distance trek running from Fort William in Scotland to you guessed it. Cape Wrath. Covering some of the most remote and beautiful scenery in mainland UK. The finish line and ultimate goal being the historic site of the Cape Wrath lighthouse.

Reaching the lighthouse will necessitate a high level of navigation and self sufficiency. There aren’t any marked sign posts or cosy little tea shops waiting around the corner. The Cape Wrath trail will be a serious undertaking that requires careful thought.

We will wander for over 200 miles across unmarked rough countryside, passing many points of interest. Along the way I will revisit many of the places I’ve passed through while climbing Scotland’s mighty mountains, the munros. A homecoming of sorts but daunting with my knowledge of what the unforgiving terrain holds.

cape wrath trail

Pack light pack smart

Whatever way you look at it over 200 miles is a long way. On foot it will feel even longer still and take over two weeks to cover. I will be trekking the Cape Wrath trail with my girlfriend self supported. It will be important to get the balance between kit volume and weight right. Too light and we will quickly become miserable roughing it to an extreme. Too heavy and the weight bearing down on the legs day after day could bring an early end to the attempt.

During the coming months I will be going through my kit checklist to make sure I’m fully prepared. September will come around quickly and I want to be in a position where every item taken has a role. Free time will also give me an opportunity to study the maps of the area. Logistics of the Cape Wrath trail will play an important part in the ultimate success of our journey.

Food staging en route to Cape Wrath

Many of the locations on the way to Cape Wrath are void of human existence. Places like Knoydart and Fisherfield Forrest, while lovely and tranquil to look at can become dangerous quickly. To survive and keep moving, sourcing food and water will be critical. Considerations for this hike will include what kinds of meals to carry to meet the calorie demands. There are lightweight ready meal options available but they will require other resources like gas fuelled cooking.

Options for cutting down on carry weight also include organising food parcels. Small villages spaced along the Cape Wrath route will allow for food packages to be sent ahead for collection. Careful planning will be required to make sure the logistics and calorie calculations are correct.

Being able to resupply in this way was a tip I learned from reading Hamish Brown’s book on non-stop munro climbing. I can recommend it for those undertaking any long distance adventure to pick up a copy. His first hand account of hill walking in Scotland during the 1970s is as relevant today as ever.

Join the adventure

In the coming weeks I will be planning finer details of our Cape Wrath long distance trek. I will also be bagging more munro summits while living the van life on a full time basis in the mountains. Why not come along for the ride?

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