No 455 – The Cape Wrath Trail – Part 5

We finally had to leave the solitude and romance of Sandwood Bay and head for Cape Wrath lighthouse.

Although you can see the lighthouse from the bay itself, the first fence we had to cross has the ominous sign, suggesting that checking for a live firing exercise first might be a sensible thing to do!

However, there’s no phone signal at the bay and we felt confident from the conversations we had with villagers and shop keepers on route, that live firing had been cancelled that day.

Even so, we umm’d and ahh’d for a while before deciding as we couldn’t hear anything exploding to go for it!

Underfoot it was probably the hardest wettest part of the trip. We chose not to stick close to the coast, which would have meant dropping into deep gullies only to have to climb back out again, but keep a kilometre or so inland where the track was more undulating.

I say track, but it was more a case of picking the best line through the bog and marshland.

The weather was on our side though and after a late start from the bay we arrived at the lighthouse mid afternoon. Apart from dogs barking to keep more enthusiastic intruders at bay, there was no one around and the thought or hope that we could have scrounged a cuppa was replaced by the realisation that we would have to walk the 10 miles to the estuary to wait for the ferryman.

It’s a long, long 10 miles. It undulates along the road and there’s a few ‘targets’ to see along the way. There’s even a bothy right down on the coast which is said to be interesting, but we didn’t divert. We just kept our head down, got our poles into high gear and carried on.

At the top of the last hill before it drops down to the estuary is a small apparently seldom used cottage. All locked up, but it offered a nice flat green camping spot in the back garden, which we pitched up in. Lee shared the Golite tent with me rather than pitch 2 tents and we settled in for a restful night.

You’ll hear in the podcast that the morning was a little confused. I was in the process of packing up the tent when the boatman crossed over to our side with some passengers. Lee raced down to catch him, but he blatantly ignored his calls and returned to the other side. He had dropped off some workmen, who also ignored us as they set off for the Cape.

So we just sat and waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally My Grumpy Pants turned up and collected us explaining that the first boat wasn’t the fully licensed ferry and he could only take paying insured passengers on this one.

It was a sore ending to our trip and left a feeling of bitterness about the pleasures of the rest of the journey. However Durness called us and after a nice congratulatory pint, we caught the bus back to Fort William for me to return home and Lee to continue onto the TGO Challenge.

One Comment

  1. Mairie

    So pleased to get Porthcawl! Part of my childhood and I was too poorly to run it at Christmas but finally did it! Stunning views across the steely grey sea on a bitterly cold morning, but a pause in the sleety rain gave us all a dry run on an undulating promenade course. It’s a there-and-back with a short steep killer section at the turning point but running by the sea surely counts as training for my first Northumberland Coastal later this year! Fingers crossed!


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