The new Cape Wrath Trail Guide website is finally live…

This blog will be closing it’s doors and will no longer be updated. All new information about the Cape Wrath Trail and the new guidebook will be posted on the new site. I’ll leave this blog up as an archive and a reminder of many happy memories.

Thanks to the many people who have got in touch and contributed over the last couple of years. See you out there.

2012 - we have liftoff

So here we are, finally in 2012. It’s an exciting year for me as all being well, the new Cape Wrath Trail guide will be published by Cicerone later this year. Much of the basic text is written and I’m now well into the laborious process of checking and re-checking the route description and updating information about accommodation and amenities en route.

 Most of the route sections have been walked multiple times which has allowed me to develop a route that really works on the ground. Much of it is familiar, but it became evident that certain sections perhaps hadn’t been explored as fully as possible by previous guides. Also, things have changed substantially on the ground in places. For example, there is now a nice riverside path along Strathcarron, almost all of the way to Coulags where previously the road was the main option.

The route has been improved in numerous other places and I’m really excited about the finished product. Many of the starting and finishing points have also been rationalised. It’s still very difficult to break the walk down into days as people have such different paces and abilities, but the new structure makes a lot more sense and allows the ability to brake up longer legs into multiple days.
There’s been some debate about whether it is possible to walk the route without a tent i.e. using hotels, B&Bs and bothies. Whilst I’ve no doubt it is technically possible, but for me this is a quintessential backpacking route and carrying a tent opens up so many more possibilities (not to mention the safety considerations in remoter areas).
One of my main decisions (see previous posts) was whether to include an alternative route across Assynt. My feeling is that this won’t now be included in the final guide. On balance, I just wasn’t happy enough with the route and the level of difficulty is too high for a guidebook aimed at the non-specialist walker.
The plan is to develop a website to support the book at www.capewrathtrailguide.org where people can post their own pictures and experiences from the trail as well as suggesting route alternatives. The Cape Wrath Trail is fairly unique in the fact that there are some many potential variations and this is an aspect that can be better explored via a website than in the book. The website should be live from February and future updates will be posted there, rather than here.
Don’t forget you can also add your photos to our Flickr Group, we’ve already got a couple of hundred fantastic photos on there.
But for now, it’s back to the manuscript….

Cape Wrath Trail Guide on Twitter

Work on the new guide continues apace and I’ll be posting a more detailed update here in late October.

A lot of work has gone into the route between Shiel Bridge and Kinlochewe, a section that has previously been rather a let down.

If you’d like more regular updates then you can now follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CWT_Guide (@CWT_Guide)

Maps

A new Cape Wrath Trail route alternative for Assynt

As followers of this blog may be aware, I’m currently working on a replacement for the venerable North to the Cape to be published by Cicerone next year. As part of the writing process, I’ve gone back to first principles, looking at the whole Cape Wrath Trail route and its many variants and trying to find places in which it can be improved without losing the sense of “tradition”.

One of the things I’ve been most keen to do is suggest an alternative route option that traverses the heart of Assynt for those that choose to detour via Ullapool. The alternative to re-join the main route is an easy and somewhat uninspiring trundle from the back of Ullapool along the Rhidorroch River via Knockdamph bothy to Glen Oykel before reaching the stupendous Ben More.

A route through Assynt was also suggested by David Paterson in his original book on the Cape Wrath Trail, so I was also keen to include something that paid homage in this new version.

Make no mistake, this is a route only for the most experienced walker and crosses some of the most wild, remote country in Scotland, including several potentially treacherous river crossings before rejoining the main route at Inchnadamph.

Nevertheless, my feeling is that this alternative should be included in the final book, for those that are seeking an extra element of challenge. However, I’d be really interested to hear the views of others both on the route itself and whether you think it is suitable for inclusion in the final guide.