2016 Expeditions

2016 Expeditions

THE CAPE WRATH TRAIL

Five members of the Wild Walks Group have successfully completed the 230-mile Cape Wrath Trail through the Scottish Highlands – nearly!

Five miles short of their destination after a total of 17 days walking, the group were foiled by the rising floodwaters of a wide burn blocking their path on the last leg to Cape Wrath lighthouse. In order not to miss the only bus home, they had to turn back to Kinlochbervie.

However, none of the group, whose ages ranged from 66 to 75, has any regrets about the trip. “We hiked through the remotest parts of Britain” explains leader Nigel Carrick. “We could walk up to thirty miles through the hills without seeing a road. We are all experienced walkers and we wanted a big challenge.” 

The Group originally planned to tackle the trail in three stages and completed the first third, from Fort William to Strathcarron, in September last year. Emboldened by this success, they decided to finish it off in just one more 12-day trip this year.

The Cape Wrath Trail starts at Fort William and winds through nowhere in particular – the villages of Glenfinnan, Invershiel, Strathcarron, Kinlochewe, Oykel Bridge and Rhiconich provide the few outposts of civilisation en route. But the mountains, glens and lonely lochs are quite spectacular. In the absence of hotels and bed and breakfast places, the group stayed in simple mountain bothies, which do not have electricity or running water. Toilet facilities consist of one shovel – you go and dig a hole! Total ascent for the trail was almost 30,000 ft.

This meant the group had to carry food and stoves and survive on powder and packets for several evenings, with porridge every breakfast. However, every so often a welcoming small hotel would provide more ambitious fare, together with the chance of a much needed bath or shower.

“We drew the line at carrying tents” says Nigel, “although we met plenty of people who did carry them, including a very petite lady from Barley who was walking from Lands End to John O’Groats with a 23kg pack.”

Those who completed the whole distance were Nigel Carrick, Dave Ashby, Geoff Smith and William Armitage. Sheila Hogan, Tom Coates and Roger Harrison also went part of the way but could not spare the time to complete the whole trail.

Not all Wild Walks Group hikes are 230 miles! But they do tend to be ambitious.

If you feel like stretching your ability and fitness, come and join us!

In December an interesting presentation on the challenging Cape Wrath Trail was given at the Members' Meeting.

The presentation was supported by dramatic photography and a loaded rucksack which demonstrated the weight each member of the group carried for the whole expedition. This
was followed later in the month by a Carol concert with an open invitation to all the walking groups in the LALG. 

 

Kinder Scout - A group of us caught the 6:20am train from Letchworth one sunny morning in March and travelled to Edale to walk circa 12 miles north over Kinder Scout, along the tops above Ladybower Reservoir and into Hope before catching a train home. These excursions are enjoyable, ably led day breaks and this was no exception.

West Wales - A four-day scenic trail walk from Caersws to Harlech. Accommodation was a mixture of B&Bs and youth hostels. The trail took the walkers alongside rivers, reservoirs and beaches, in woodlands and up mountains.