Unicef Teddy and battered old trail runners.

Cape Wrath Trail – Part 1: Introduction

I hadn’t actually got around to organising a proper holiday following my exploits on the Pen Llyn Ultra. So I thought to myself – you know what would be good, hiking alone in midge-infested dampness of North-West Scotland. I haven’t done that in a few years. So here we go.

I’ll be walking for about 220 miles of the Cape Wrath Trail. The trail takes me from Fort William(ish), up past Ullapool to, well, Cape Wrath. According to the wisdom of Wikipedia it is considered to be one of the most challenging long distance walks in the UK and an experienced walker should be able to traverse the entire route in less than 20 days. I am an experienced hiker and two weeks is less than 20 days, so I decided I would try and do it in that.

I say am an experienced hiker, by that I mostly mean that I have made almost all the mistakes I can think of. Over the years I’ve managed to, on separate occaisions, set fire to my (wet) socks and to my (wet) self. I’ve managed more than once to get lost walking in a straight line (while following a river). I’ve given myself mild hypothermia, heat exhaustion, severe dehydration and concussion (not all at the same time). This time I am almost certain none of these things will happen, apart from the getting lost thing. I shall instead endeavour to find new and interesting mishaps to entertain myself with. I mention this partly to ensure that you realise that anything that resembles hiking recommendations or advice in this blog is founded on my own chaotic and meandering experiences and should not be taken as coming from any sort of voice of authority.

I shall be carrying a rucksack filled with about 16kg of food, water and various odds and sods that are necessary on such a trip – tent, sleeping bag, water filter, torch and a book of poetry by Dylan Thomas. I shall also be carrying non-essentials such as a second pair of underwear and a third pair of socks. For those interested in more information on the route, I’m mostly following the route described by https://capewrathtrailguide.org/route.

I must admit, I’m really looking forward to this hike. The trail is unmarked and runs through some of the wildest and least accessible and oldest parts of the country – bits of Scotland are over 3 billion years old. Very few people complete the hike in any given year, so chances are I shall be on my own most the time. Hopefully I shall finish it in time to make my way to the Lake District for a 44 mile ultramarathon up and down Skiddaw, because walking 200+ miles isn’t enough for one holiday.

Chances are I won’t have signal very often, but when I do I shall try and post an update on the website as and when I can.

Unicef Teddy and battered old trail runners.
I can’t help but feel that buying a new pair of Trail Running Shoes might have been a better idea than sewing my old ones up.

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