Photo of Teddy enjoying take out from The Seaforth chipper.

Cape Wrath Trail: Day 6 – Shenavall Bothy to Ullapool

I awoke twice during the night. Once on purpose so that I could watch the stars. I could see them from my sleeping bag through the bothy window, but I got up and had a proper nosey at them too. The other time I awoke was due to the sounds of a wee critter. The little bugger was snaffling the Tunnock’s Teacake that I had been saving for breakfast. The mouse scampered off as soon as I reached for my torch but it was too late to save the teacake. So much for breakfast.

When morning came, I was up and out of the both before the couple were up. The path out of Shenavall was good for the first kilometre of across and 250 metres of up, before it became a little bit boggy. Still, it never got quite as bad as I was expecting and to be honest the whole day would go well. The sun was shining and there were paths for me to follow.

I misplaced myself for about ten minutes deciding which path I was meant to go down. Neither seemed to be quite right, and they were separated by a gate. I wandered back and forth through the gate half a dozen times before settling on the wrong path. I only wandered around fifty metres down the path before deciding I had indeed made a mistake and tracked back, thus avoiding my usual disaster of adding an extra couple of kilometres onto my shortcut.

My knee was still sore on the downhill sections, which made me glad to be only doing 30 km today. Yet even with the sore knee, the toughest part of the journey became the relatively flat trudge along the main road towards Ullapool. I’d arrive in town by around 3pm so I had the option of stocking up on food and hiking back out into the wilds. But finding a B&B would give me the luxury of my first shower in a week and an extra four hours for my muscles and my joints to recover.

I found a nice little B&B and enjoyed my shower before heading out for fish, chips and a battered haggis at the Seaforth chip shop. I then found a hardware shop which sold cable ties, which I could use to cable-tie my watch to myself. That would be better than the safety pin that I had been using, although it did mean I would have to carefully and one-handedly cut the cable tie away from my wrist each night.

My next mission was to have a pint of lager and a cup of tea in a pub. They seemed surprised when I ordered both at the same time, but I found alternating sips of tea and beer strangely satisfying. Fed and refreshed I then had to get to Tesco to buy more food for the final third of the journey. I picked up 17000 calories of mostly junk food. I had already lost weight despite my best efforts and I risked replacing my well earnedt Buddha Belly with well-defined abs.

When I got back to the B&B I had a bath and another shower. I spent the remainder of the evening making repairs to my rucksack and my shoes. My shoes were in a particularly bad state and I had to sew and tape them together. I hoped that they would last another few days otherwise I would be completing the journey on foot.

Patched up shoes
I labelled my shoes so I wouldn’t get lost or disorientated as long as I kept heading north.

Speaking of feet, mine were permanently wet for the first four days of the journey, and had been topped up with damp both yesterday and today. Despite this they are in surprisingly good condition, a bit sore and with a blister on one toe, but otherwise okay. My socks have not fared so well though. The inner Bridgedale Liner socks and outer Smartwool socks that I wore for the first four days have been destroyed beyond repair. The Sealskinz socks that I wore on days 5 and 6 are similarly beginning to disintegrate and did nothing to keep the water out. On the bright side, this does mean that tomorrow will be fresh sock day. Hooray!

Photo of Teddy enjoying take out from The Seaforth chipper.
Teddy deserved this well earnt meal after 6 days of hard hiking… honest!

Today I learnt: That the Seaforth does a really good fish and chips and that I quited like Ullapool, although part of me can’t help but feel that there must be an easier way to get here.

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