Experience the Rugged Beauty of the Cape Wrath Trail
The Cape Wrath Trail that runs for about 200 miles along the west coast of Scotland and through the Scottish Highlands, is considered by even the most seasoned hiker to be one of the most challenging long distance hiking routes in the United Kingdom. It is also widely considered to be one of the most rewarding.
The trail runs between Fort William and the Cape Wrath Lighthouse, which is situated on the most north-westerly tip of Scotland’s mainland. For part of its distance the Cape Wrath Trail connects with the West Highland Way, as well as the Great Glen Way. All three of these trails have been given “long distance footpath” status in Scotland, meaning that they are recreational right-of-way routes for non-motorized recreational traveling, including walking, backpacking, cycling or horse riding.
The trail is not officially endorsed by Scottish Natural Heritage and facilities along the trail, which covers some of the most remote parts of mainland Britain, are minimal. Nevertheless, those who take on the challenge of the Cape Wrath Trail are rewarded with some of the most beautiful scenery that Scotland has to offer. Some of the notable geographic features that hikers will encounter along the Cape Wrath Trail include the National Nature Reserve of Beinne Eighe, the Eas a’Chual Aliunn waterfall, the Knoydart peninsula, Loch Duich, the Falls of Glomach, Sandwood Bay, the Mountains of Torridon and An Teallach.
The Cape Wrath Trail starts just outside Fort William at Banavie, heading up the Great Glen to Loch Lochy before turning north and cutting across Glen Garry and Glen Shiel and heading for Strathcarron. The trail then meanders past the mountains south and north of Torridon and through the wilderness area between Loch Maree and Little Loch Broom. Once hikers have worked their way north of the Ullapool road and inland to Oykel Bridge, they need to prepare to tackle the wildest and most remote stretch of the trail, which winds through the mountains of Inchnadamph and Kylesku heading for Rhiconich and then to Kinlochbervie. The final stretch of the trail takes hikers over the moors to Sandwood Bay and along the cliff top to the Cape Wrath lighthouse. Looking out over the ocean, one can imagine how sailors from days gone by must have appreciated seeing the light from this remote lighthouse which was built by Robert Stevenson in 1828.
It takes about twenty days to complete Scotland’s Cape Wrath Trail and the many intrepid hikers who have managed to do so agree that it is an incredible experience.