Sunday 28 June 2015

I hiked the Cape Wrath Trail

At 14.30 on Monday the 22nd of June I reached the lighthouse at the farthest northwest corner of the UK mainland. I'd walked all the way from Fort William. My thru-hike of the Cape Wrath Trail involved 241 miles of walking over eighteen days on the trail. And I didn't get a single blister.

The journey was every bit as good as I had hoped it would be, and then some – but it was also a tough challenge, a game of endurance against relentlessly cold and wet weather. I hiked with wet feet every single day. I waded more rivers in high spate than I could count. Although the CWT followed some good paths, a high proportion of the trail consisted of trackless boggy wilderness requiring advanced navigational skills. The first section, Knoydart, was particularly tough in the autumnal weather and I only averaged ten-mile days through that leg of the trail.

Trail mile 81, on the way to Maol-Bhuidhe (photo thanks to John Burns)
But I loved absolutely every single moment, even when it had been raining for fifteen hours and the cold wind was driving the water through every layer of clothing I owned. In a way, it felt as if this was the first real backpacking route I'd done, and every moment spent in the mountains over the last decade had been building up to this route. The CWT was both a culmination and a new beginning.

So now I'm a long-distance hiker. And it feels fantastic.

Cape Wrath
Trip reports and other media

This was a much longer trip than my average outing, so it will take time to put together trip reports to post on here. I have also been asked to contribute articles on my CWT thru-hike for various outdoor publications, so I still need to decide exactly what will go into the blog and what will be published elsewhere.

Many of you followed my adventure on Twitter and Instagram, and (when I found wifi!) your support was invaluable in keeping me going. I'll continue to post photos there as I gradually edit my pictures from the trip.

I'm also planning blog posts on how my gear performed – reviews of various items, what I'd change with hindsight, and how I plan to shave even more weight from my pack for future trips.

For the time being, watch this space – and I'll also be writing a little about my next planned adventures in due course, too.

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