About. All in, 175km and 3,281m of climbing. I really hope you will join us. What a place. And to see the Gallery lit up in all its glory was properly emotional. On the way home, we both made a promise that we would be back again the following year. With their initial plans for an east-west traverse of the Sierras burning down time-and-time-again, they opted for a 300KM circular bikepacking route - upwards, further into untamed country where roads turned to trails… In a sense, at least. Of course, the best choice for you is very much dependent on what / … Start Here, Broadly speaking, there are three bikepacking genres to choose from – Multi-day Mountain Biking, Ultralight Race & Gravel, and Expedition & Dirt Touring. There ware many stops along the way to take in the sites of the MOD buildings and abandoned homes. Early the next morning we were up and brewing a nice cuppa ready for the day ahead. It didn’t seem to hold me back though, and I made it through the Ardverikie estate in record time and was heading up to Loch Ossian. Learn More, We have ~100 routes on our worldwide bikepacking routes map. Surely the turn onto the path that would lead us down to Kearvaig Bothy was close! The Cape Wrath Trail begins in Fort William which is about 3 hours north of Glasgow on the west coast of Scotland, by bus or train. The jackets were packed away, and shorts were called for now. It didn’t take long to drift off that night! This part is a single room separate from the rest of the bothy with a sleeping platform for two or three and its own fire place. Cape Wrath – 31/08/18 to 02/09/19. Chris and Jelle tour the very north-west of Scotland by bike - to Sandwood Bay with flippers, surf boards and wetsuits in tow, before bikepacking the famed road to Cape Wrath... Chris McClean & Jelle Mul I ring the bell but it takes her an age to arrive at the food window. No trouble whatsoever. The evening was now rolling in, so we brought the bikes in (that salty air won’t do my bike any favours overnight) and got a fire set. When it comes to bikepacking, there’s a world of options, not just limited to what kind of bike is best, but also about clothing, cooking equipment, sleeping systems - the list goes on. Never mind – Crack on to Cape Wrath lighthouse for a cup of coffee and a nice hot lunch was the decision made at that point. But I knew this ride counted more than an FKT would. The weather was a little overcast, but the water was still. Having that positivity to push on when the only reason to do so is that mindset itself; it’s a life skill that doesn’t come naturally to most. Stretching approximately 230 miles (370 km) from the Highland hub of Fort William to the remote lighthouse of Cape Wrath, it is an unmarked and sometimes trailless route that passes through the wild and spectacular landscapes of northwestern Scotland. I rode through a large estate and then on through spectacular glens, beneath mountains, and past solitary dwellings into the growing dusk. Within a couple of miles, a strange building appeared through the mist in the distance. After what seemed like a short ride, we arrived back in time for the ferry and were in Durness for a stop at the famous Coco Mountain café for one of the most amazing hot chocolates you will ever experience. Just the faint sound of the sea and wind and the crackling of the fire. The fourth issue of The Bikepacking Journal hit mailboxes this spring. This was our second trip of 2019 to the bothy and again we elected to camp and allow the fellow visitors to sleep in the bothy. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband, two children and two step children, where she works as an IT Project manager. I thought i would share my build process and future plans for it. I awoke a couple of hours later and found that I had drifted off (as had Jack). The drizzle turned into rain and we were both getting fairly soaked by this point. It also made me appreciate just how much comfort we have in our lives now, from basic Maslovian needs to our modern lives that increase our scope for travel and communication. In her spare time, Naomi loves to take off and explore the wilds by bike. Located in Scotland, it runs from Fort William, through the Highlands and Western Scotland, to the lighthouse at Cape Wrath, the northwestern-most point of Scotland. This time, we finally got to see all those spectacular sceneries. Multi-activity 29er for fast, flowy trails, hurtling over (EU) Try one. Yum. During this period of uncertainty, it has been nice to return to thinking about our more basic needs. Cick the link to see them plotted or select from the links to the right to filter. Approximately 230 miles in length, most people take 2-3 weeks to backpack the trip. Thankfully the track has been partially tarmacked thanks to a heavy MOD presence in the area. I bought a Cape Wrath from 97 from retrobike. Cape Wrath Trail Backpacking Gear List, Explained Philip Werner Gear Lists, Scotland The Cape Wrath Trail travels up the west coast of Scotland, beginning in Fort William, and ending at Cape Wrath which is the northernmost point of Britain. Damn! Dinner was a one pot masterpiece of chicken curry and rice. The Cape Wrath Trail is considered the hardest hiking route in the United Kingdom. That’s easy enough to get to with two planes and a train: Boston->Dublin->Glasgow->Fort William. On the plus side, we got to spend a glorious afternoon and night on the north coast of Scotland. Find her story of pushing herself in the face of failure here…, Words by Naomi Freireich (@frikfrak74), photos by Charlie Lees (@charlielees). Why did it have to be an FKT to be worth doing? Derek Buttle 1930-2017 Seeing the remote remains of former settlements really brought home just how much this period changed the landscape of Scotland both physically and emotionally for those families forced out of their homes. Quick, lightweight 29er modern mountain bike, a genuine multi-activity hardtail. And finally, to Charlie. The further on we progressed, the more the bad weather came in. Learn More, As important as it is to have a reliable bike and pack as light as you can, choosing the right route is perhaps the key to your enjoyment. And not done it all at the same time. And of course, with each climb came an adrenaline-inducing descent. Its beauty is in its simplicity, but don’t confuse simple with basic. We walked on the sand at low tide, climbed rocks, ate dinner with a view, and after a good night’s rest, woke with the sunrise over the bay. The bothy is known as one of the best in Scotland. The further on we progressed, the more the bad weather came in. Trust me. For me, being warm and dry and knowing I was safe and had food and water simplified the task ahead. It's often touted as Britain's toughest long distance walk, due to its pathless sections, remoteness, and Scotland's fierce weather. The kids…, George, Dave and I left Grantown on spey on a dull Sunday morning with expectations…, A great overnight trip to the Ruigh Aiteachain bothy on the Glenfeshie estate to celebrate a…. We all know what the run up to Christmas is like, don’t we? Undertaking a 560-kilometre bikepacking route through the wilds of the far north of Scotland in autumn weather definitely takes a certain mindset. Visiting Kearvaig and Cape Wrath had been on my bucket list for a long time. The path is not waymarked and has many variations. Beulah, a collaborative film between Pannier and Brother Cycles, follows their unsupported cycle trip to explore the Cape Wrath track; a journey inspired by a 1970s OS Map Sheet of the most north-westerly part of Scotland. Home Blog Bikepacking Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy, Glenfeshie. The drizzle turned into rain and we were both getting fairly soaked by this point. Once back at the bothy, we made a brew and climbed into our sleeping bags to warm up. One hotly debated topic is the choice of sleeping arrangements, with tents and bivvy bags often fighting it out for top spot. We believe travel by bicycle has the power to encourage conservation, inclusivity, and respect for all people and cultures. We had a quick explore of the bothy first, and then chose the left-hand portion of the building to call home for the night. I didn’t know what to expect. Day one can be described as incredible remoteness, tough hike-a-bike, rain, wind, and stunning landscapes. Then, on arrival, the weather scuppering our chance of a ferry crossing from Durness (the only means to reach Cape Wrath) meant I would be starting, not from one end, but with 20km unridden and unrideable by me. I have heard stories that the sense of remoteness and isolation make you think about life a little more poetically. To view them all, click through to the komoot Collection and hit … The Cape Wrath Trail is often referred to as Britain’s toughest long distance walk. Add to that the low-lying clouds I was to pass through and that whole section of the trip was shrouded in the air of mystery and wonder. As soon as you start from the Durness side, you are straight into a steep climb. Accidentally switching off my alarm meant my morning routine was condensed to 15 minutes of mad panic. As you descend the track, the stunning views of the bothy open up with an expanse of golden sanded beach wrapped up out the harsh winds by towering cliffs and hills all around. Arriving late in the evening, I met up with my biking buddy, Jack Kirkbride. Rainspotting – our second film together with Brother Cycles (following Beulah, 2016) – tracks our 84-hour wintry bikepacking ramble through Scotland’s gloomy Grampians. My Achilles tendon at my left heel was really painful and the climbing of the day before was evident in my legs. We decided to take a breather and check our map. I like to keep track of what gear worked and what didn’t on my backpacking trips for future reference. Mindset. The ride back to the ferry was just stunning. Set it up for XC race speed and a trail centre slayer or set it up for all-day comfort loaded with bags and ride rugged country, bothy trips to Cape Wrath and beyond. Rocky Mountains Horses Travel Paths Destinations Horse Trips Traveling Words This would be a journey about far more than just the distance I would ride. We decided to take a breather and check our map. And despite the pain and fatigue I felt, the joy of being there and knowing my body was capable of powering me to the top kept me pushing on and kept me smiling. It was here I knew I could do it. So during quarantine I really wanted to make another project, something off-grid, to get me going to forests, lakes and all the places I wanted. Climb three was comparatively easy, which was good because I needed everything I had for the Corrieyairack. Feeling refreshed we took a few tourist pics and cracked on back along the route we had came back towards the bothy at Kearvaig. From there, the path became more familiar to me. It has seen tragedy in its past and its remoteness gives you a sense of tranquillity beyond anything frequently experienced before. Try one. Visit this section to learn how to choose a route, and some insight into navigation. Trust me. Multi-activity 29er for fast, flowy trails, hurtling over (US) My goal was to go faster. Click the link below to find out how to start. Publications. The Cape Wrath Trail runs from Fort William to Cape Wrath on Scotland’s northwest coast, for approximately 280 miles. After what seemed like a short ride, we arrived back in time for the ferry and were in Durness for a stop at the famous Coco Mountain café for one of the most amazing hot chocolates you will ever experience. As soon as you start from the Durness side, you are straight into a steep climb. The vast uninhabited highlands have been really opened up for riding by the hydroelectric industry, with the access roads reaching high up into the hills where the dams, turbines, and solar generate 90% of the energy consumed in Scotland. More here. This time, we finally got to see all those spectacular sceneries. So much history is attached to these roads, and to be able to ride them still is pretty mind-blowing. Surely the turn onto the path that would lead us down to Kearvaig Bothy was close! Gear that Worked It was so dark by now, but my lights kept me safe and marked the way onward. An hour before the film started, we put a shout out for you folks to get creative and sketch one of the bikes, or scenes, from Rainspotting – the sketchier the better – and dangled a box of Outdoor Provisions bars as a Grand Prize. A short film about a journey to the most northwesterly point on the UK mainland — Cape Wrath. This day I knew would be tough, with three big climbs before I even got to the biggest of the route, and the highest road pass in Scotland, the Corrieyairack Pass. A truly magical place that’s well worth the effort to get to. Fast and fun. Well, it is in fact almost a thousand kilometres from where we currently live in Sussex. From the end of the West Highland Way in Milngavie, the section along the rural parts of the Kelvin was definitely experimental, and the combination of mud, fallen trees, and giant hogweed could have really destroyed my calm were it not for the knowledge that I was mere teens of kilometres from the end. There is no escaping it I’m afraid! To Mason Cycles for loaning me the über-capable InSearchOf; truly a bike for all terrain (and I checked this was true over the weekend!). Join Stefan, Will, Luke and Jordan - the guys behind the film Beulah - as they discuss the ever-popular pursuit of bikepacking, various bike and kit setups, their trip to Cape Wrath, and the experiences of filming by bike. By the time I reached the road again, it was dark. It was Cape Wrath (Scotland’s most Northernly point on the mainland) and the remote café was open for business (as it is 24 hours a day 365 days a year). I really worried that I wouldn’t be able to ride. Beulah Tour Cycling Cape Wrath & Scotland's Wild North-West - a three day bikepacking trip to the most north-westerly point of the British Mainland, along our loneliest road... Stefan Amato & Jordan Gibbons All that remained was the small matter of what now. As the night rolled on, we kept the fire going with driftwood and some slow burning firelogs. West Coast of Scotland sounds nice. We rose with the light, enjoyed a tasty breakfast with our view, and headed to the ferry point, the closest I could get to the end to begin my journey. Exposure lights for their excellent bike lights keeping me safe on the roads and on the right path off them. Cape Wrath. It was lovely to stop and chat to both and hear the stories of their ride. We had a ferry to catch, so had a fairly strict time plan to keep to. There ware many stops along the way to take in the sites of the MOD buildings and abandoned homes. The tracks were quite reasonable and the climbs all doable at a casual pace. This was a ride that was to mark my growth in mindset. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @frikfrak74. For 70 years, Cycling UK’s Cape Wrath Fellowship has put cyclists to the test. The rest was (almost) all downhill. The Killin to Callander cycle path gave me some easy, flattish kilometres, albeit into a headwind before hitting the three lochs route from Loch Venachar. Rather than stop there, at the edge of a busy road, I decided to push on to Contin, home of the Strathpuffer 24-hour race, and my first 24-hour title. Click the link below to learn about each. First, a delayed start pushed us to rethink and turn the route on its head, starting at Cape Wrath itself to remove the unknown of a return home from the far north on the final day. After work on the Friday evening I chucked my bike on the roof of my car and took the long drive up to Durness. Length: 23.80 miles Level of ride: Beginner Type of bike: Any though mountain bike preferable. These incredible roads, which quite often head straight over the tops of mountains (see the Corrieyairack as a case in point), were built in the mid-1700s in a push to get General Wade’s army into the highlands of Scotland to control the Jacobite rebellion. It didn’t fail to live up to its expectations. The bikes were soon back on the roof and we started the long drive back home to Grantown. It uses old drove roads and military roads and new hydroelectric access roads, all linked by small sections of minor country road and walking paths to create a 354-mile (562-kilometre in new money) route from Scotland’s largest city to the most westerly part of the north coast. Okay, the use of the word official might not be solidly defined, but here are *most* of the recognised long distance bikepacking across England, Scotland and Wales. View The Classics, The Bikepacking Journal is our printed collection of inspiring writing and beautiful photography.Find details here alongside a growing collection of web exclusive features... Have one to share? After a hot brew and a hearty meal of beans on toast, I enquired to the keeper “how do you get all your supplies out here?” It turns out that they get helicoptered in a couple of times a year! Cape Wrath by Fatbike and Packraft - BIKEPACKING.com A film with a twist about a fat bike and packraft journey to the most northwesterly point on the UK mainland, Cape Wrath. It'll be a pretty informal, light-hearted 30 mins so please come by if you're keen to hear more, or ask us any questions. The nearest access point is Corrour Station, the highest train station in the U.K., which is only reachable on foot or on the train itself. Hardtail trail centre mountain bike compatible with 27.5+ or 29 inch wheels. Thankfully, everything was packed from the day before and that surge of adrenaline meant I wasn’t thinking about the pain. Designed to be ridden over a leisurely eight days, its inauguration was a race event, which saw the record time being set at just over four days. At the time of researching the route, the most information I had was someone thinking the record was around three days. We parked up the van next to Ceannabeinne Beach, which was utterly breathtaking. I’d ridden it once before with Charlie a couple of years ago and knew what was ahead of me. To ride to the end of the trail past my old University haunts, along the Kelvin cycle path, past Maryhill, the Botanical Gardens, and through Kelvingrove beneath Glasgow University felt like such a fitting way to end my ride. Home. Blue skies and warm sunshine had come out to see us off! Whilst keeping our heads down and riding against the driving rain, we managed to go straight past the track. An Turas Mór is a long-distance MTB route from Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery in the beautiful west end, all the way to Cape Wrath’s remote lighthouse. I’d done it. A great overnight trip to the Ruigh Aiteachain bothy on the Glenfeshie estate to celebrate a couple of phat boys birthdays. Similarly, the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel is only accessible by foot, so the whole area has this incredibly remote feel to it. Cycle magazine; Cycle Campaign News ; CycleClips e-newsletter; Velocheer; Jobs; History. Here I met two separate riders going the other way, the first people I’d met on the trails all day. From the north, the pass climbs almost 700m over 12km to its highest point, then descends on a majestic but incredibly rough set of switchbacks that keep you on your toes. I could imagine the views would be stunning had the cloud not been so low. UK official off-road bikepacking routes. Originally published in The Bikepacking Journal 03, Ditibised is Alexandera Houchin’s extraordinary story of training for the Tour Divide, framed in four seasons…. An Turas Mor: Cape Wrath to Glasgow by Bike - BIKEPACKING.com Naomi Freireich set out for a solo time trial from Cape Wrath to Glasgow on Scotland's An … 26 inch retro frame, some wide bars, get those wide tyres in and let's get going. Lael, Chris, Erik & Rue explore the High Sierras of California with bikes and bike backpacks. Nothing my bike couldn’t handle. What looked like a short distance ended up taking a good hour and a half through overgrown paths, and by the time I met up with my husband Charlie in the trailhead car park, I was famished. If you’d like to see the complete list of gear I brought for this, the southern half (140 miles) of the Cape Wrath Trail, it’s detailed in this (linked) gear list post. However, you can step on the Caledonian Sleeper train in London Euston one evening and arrive to wild, breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands from your cabin window the following morning. This was the ride I did against all odds and completed anyway, always with a smile. Thankfully, the first climb started with a smooth hydro access path. Expect fully loaded bikes, empty roads & wilderness, campfires, bothies, tents, and a steady flow of single malt… Set it up for XC race speed and a trail centre slayer or set it up for all-day comfort loaded with bags and ride rugged country, bothy trips to Cape Wrath and beyond. Beyond that, all we knew for sure was we wanted to reach the lighthouse at Cape Wrath and the route we ended up riding was quite different to what we’d originally planned! to support us & get The Bikepacking Journal. We must have missed it a while back. There is no escaping it I’m afraid! The tracks were quite reasonable and the climbs all doable at a casual pace. 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