Longer journeys and challenges in the UK are nothing new, there are many excellent long-distance trails from the well-established West Highland Way to the increasingly popular Cape Wrath Trail. In fact, finding a long-distance journey that hasn’t been done could be almost impossible – almost…
On a holiday to the West Coast a few years back, I’d stumbled upon an old ‘coffin road’, between Lochs Morar and Nevis, the stone slabs and cobbles appeared out of the mist and provided a welcome respite from the squelching steps that had themed the day. That night I’d sat in the lodge wondering how many more of these ‘coffin roads’ and other paths were crossing the hills between long-cleared communities.
...after much scheming, the plan was hatched: a route up the West Coast of Scotland, from Fort William (or close) to Cape Wrath, journeying over both land and water. A sort of semi-aquatic Cape Wrath Trail – the Pack Wrath Trail.
We set upon beginning on Apr 1st, estimating 14-18 days for the approximately 350km journey. Sitting at home in the heat and dry of the blocking high pressure system that bathed the UK late March, we hoped it would last.
3 days later – April Fool’s Day – Rich, Millie, my 4-year-old Collie, and I stand on the side of the A830 watching the first snowflakes fall; the irony is palpable. Undeterred and eager we stride purposefully north from Arkaig over the hills to Meoble and on to Loch Morar.
On the shore, our transitioning from land to water for the first time on this journey is slow, yet relaxed. The sun is out and, with not a breath of wind, we’re soon across and at Tarbert. The short walk over to Loch Nevis, begs us not to deflate our boats, and so, we fix them to our packs and trudge, turtle like over the trail down to the shore.
By mid-afternoon we’re on the water again, the wind now lifting from the west, pushes along through the narrows as porpoise play in the neck. Soon the weather turns, rain is falling, half sleet, wind cold and biting. We exit the loch and stride along the glen; camp found, we retire. Cold, burying into our bags.
For the full story visit Jas' website, here
Jason is co-founder of Tirio - providers of expedition training, packrafting, wild-living skills and specialist remote area first aid training. He has a Master's degree in Elite Performance Coaching and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Richard Sumner Is a Landscape Architect working for Natural Resources Wales and living and working in North Wales. He loves the outdoors for the experience and friends made along the way.
Rob Duncalf is an accomplished all-round outdoors man. Passionate about fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Often found exploring the more remote parts of the UK.
Image credits: J Taylor & R Sumner
Illustration: L Taylor