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, 3-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
The essential guidebook to the Cape Wrath Trail, a long-distance trek from Fort William to Cape Wrath crossing the wild north west of the Scottish Highlands. The route is described from north to south in 14 stages, with 6 alternative stages along the way, allowing for a flexible itinerary of between two and three weeks. A long tough trek with no waymarking, this is for the tried and tested backpacker.
The Cape Wrath Trail is regarded as the toughest long-distance route in Britain and offers unparalleled freedom and adventure to the experienced and self-sufficient backpacker prepared to walk for many days in remote wilderness. Travelling through the wild and rugged landscapes of Morar, Knoydart, Torridon and Assynt, to the peaks of Arkle, Foinaven and Ben More, and a dramatic finale at the Cape, it will test the limits of your endurance. But for those who are up to the challenge, the rewards are a chance to experience a solitude rarely found in modern life and to explore the beauty of these truly wild landscapes.
This guidebook includes OS mapping, route profiles and detailed route descriptions and gives you all the information you need about accommodation (including hotels, bothies, B&Bs and bunkhouses), campsites and amenities en route, to help you plan and prepare for this epic challenge.
For nearly 50 years Cicerone have been producing guidebooks on recognised treks, regions, areas and general tips for hikers.
We have used them countless times and they've always provided excellent insight and knowledge that you only get through experience, giving you the edge to make your trip a success and more enjoyable too.
If you're a gram counter you can easily remove sections of the book to take with you making your own ultra-lightweight guidebook with only the essential sections that you require.
- Reviewed by Ultralight Outdoor Gear
SeasonsApril, 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
CentresFort William, Glenfinnan, Barisdale, Kinloch Hourn, Shiel Bridge, Strathcarron, Kinlochewe, Dundonnell, Ullapool, Bridge of Orchy, Inchnadamph, Kylesku, Rhiconich, Kinlochbervie, Durness
DifficultyThe 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 SeeGlenfinnan 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
Geology and wildlife
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