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Trek the Cape Wrath Trail with a Cicerone guide

Cover of The Cape Wrath Trail
14 Sep 2015
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
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The Cape Wrath Trail

by Iain Harper
Book published by Cicerone Press

A guidebook to the Cape Wrath Trail, a long-distance trek through the Scottish Highlands from Fort William to Cape Wrath. The Cape Wrath Trail is a 230-mile, three-week challenge through wild and magnificent landscapes, such as Morar, Knoydart, Torridon and Assynt. Crossing such empty country, it is for the experienced backpacker only.

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Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
Weight: 240g

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  • Activities
    Long-distance walking and backpacking
  • Seasons
    April, May and June are ideal months to walk the trail. September and October are also good, but there may be diversions due to deer stalking and military operations at the cape. In July and August the days are superbly long and the weather can be fine, but midges will be in full flight. The limited accommodation along the trail may also be booked up at this time of year
  • Centres
    Fort William, Glenfinnan, Barisdale, Kinloch Hourn, Shiel Bridge, Strathcarron, Kinlochewe, Dundonnell, Ullapool, Bridge of Orchy, Inchnadamph, Kylesku, Rhiconich, Kinlochbervie, Durness
  • Difficulty
    The Cape Wrath Trail is regarded as the toughest long distance backpacking trail in Britain. It crosses remote, sparsely populated, potentially dangerous mountain country. There are no pack carrying services and often no clear paths. Limited re-supply points require self sufficiency for many days together. Not a route for beginners or those unfamiliar with remote, rugged mountain areas
  • Must See
    Glenfinnan monument and viaduct, the gloriously remote rough bounds of Knoydart, Barisdale, Forcan ridge, Falls of Glomach, Beinn Eighe, Lochan Fada, Shenavall, An Teallach, Glen Douchary, Glen Oykel, Ben More, Glencoul, Arkle, Foinaven, Sandwood Bay, Cape Wrath lighthouse

November 2015

Stage 5

Getting from Maol Bhuidhe Bothy to Bendronaig Bothy, there are two clear possibilities - clockwise or anti clockwise. The guide prescribes the clockwise approach; but the anti-clockwise route is now much easier and locally recommended. The stalkers’ track shown as a dashed line on the Harvey Map on the east of Beinn Dronaig (but not followed by the red-lined path) has now been bulldozed well round the mountain so that from Maol Bhuidhe Bothy all you need to do is to go north across the river then head straight up the hill for about 500m and follow a 'motorway' track round to Loch Calavie and on to Bendronaig Bothy.

Stage 9

The long zigzags through the forest above Inverlael can be avoided if you simply continue along the forest track from 191854 to 204853, then follow it north round the bend, you can pick up the minor track zigzagging up the hill (shown on the Harvey Map but not on the map in the Cicerone guide) from 206856 to 206858 and then re-join the major track up the hill and out of the forest.


Geology and wildlife
Getting there
Getting around
When to go
Money and communications
Preparation and planning
What to take
Waywarking and access
Maps and navigation
Using this guide
1 Fort William to Strathcarron
Stage 1 Fort William to Glenfinnan
Stage 2 Glenfinnan to Glen Dessarry
Stage 3 Glen Dessarry to Barisdale
Stage 4 Barisdale to Morvich (near Shiel Bridge)
Alternative Stage 1 Fort William to Laggan
Alternative Stage 2 Laggan to Cluanie
Alternative Stage 3 Cluanie to Morvich (near Shiel Bridge)
Stage 5 Morvich (near Shiel Bridge) to Strathcarron
2 Strathcarron to Inverlael (near Ullapool)
Stage 6 Strathcarron to Kinlochewe
Alternative Stage 6 Bendronaig to Kinlochewe
Stage 7 Kinlochewe to Strath na Sealga
Stage 8 Strath na Sealga to Inverlael (near Ullapool)
3 Inverlael to Cape Wrath
Stage 9 Inverlael (near Ullapool) to Oykel Bridge
Alternative Stage 9 Ullapool to Oykel Bridge
Stage 10 Oykel Bridge to Inchnadamph (or Loch Ailsh)
Stage 11 Inchnadamph to Glendhu
Alternative Stage 11 Loch Ailsh to Glendhu
Stage 12 Glendhu to Rhiconich
Stage 13 Rhiconich to Sandwood Bay
Stage 14 Sandwood Bay to Cape Wrath
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Accommodation
Appendix C Shops, cafés and Post Offices
Appendix D Useful websites
Appendix E Maps
Appendix F Further reading
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