Cape Wrath Trek Day 2

Still in nightshift mode, I awoke very early, before 4 am, and made leisurely progress in setting out that day. I was on the move by 6am heading for Meall a’ Ghrianain, the south top of Beinn a’ Chaisteil. Weather was very cloudy and the wind increased again with height. A very steep final incline to the summit rewarded me with the sight of heavy rainclouds closing in fast. A further 2.5km of walking to the north led me to the true summit of Beinn a’ Chaisteil.

The summit of Meall a’ Ghrianain in the background

Summit Beinn a’ Chaisteil

Looking at the map and confirming that Beinn Tharsuinn wasn’t too far out of the way, about 5km, I made course for it with thoughts in my mind of summiting it and then still having time to get back and crossing Carn Ban and possibly Seana Braigh before an overnight stop in Magoos Bothy. Oh how foolish that thought seems now on reflection. Only 5km there and back, on rough, pathless, peathags in the rain. No problem.

Not many photos from the next 5 hours it took to cross those 5km and back. I managed to summit Beinn Tharsuinn without too much difficulty although taking a lot longer than anticipated, but returning down to Crom Loch then back down to Deanich Lodge was very very difficult. It was somewhere at this point I had hurt my left knee and it was going to take me all my willpower just to get to Glenbeg Bothy, nevermind crossing Carn Ban.

Crom Loch and Beinn Tharsuinn during a very rare sunny moment

Deanich Lodge

Back down to the glen floor and now only 6km to Glenbeg Bothy, the original plan for tonight. The first 3.5km is on a good estate track whilst the rest of the journey is rough and at times quite wet. There are normally 2 bothys in Gleann Beag, the traditional stone one and a more modern corrugated iron one that most people seem to prefer. Sometime during the last 2 days though, the ‘modern’ bothy was apparently the victim of a lightning strike and all that remained was a perfectly charred rectangle of an ex-bothy. The smell of smoke still hung in the air. Entering the old bothy I was surprised to be greeted with a loud ‘Hello’. Its not often you meet with people up a remote hill/glen/bothy during the week, but here there were 2 of them. Alastair and Richard were out bagging the Ullapool munros, spending the night here then attempting Seana Braigh and Carn Ban the next day.

I unpacked, cooked some food (Chicken Jalfrezi and rice – thank you Fuizion Foods) then went to take some photos in the now quite nice evening.



We all talked hills for a bit in front of a good fire I had got going. My body was starting to recover but there were thoughts of spending the next day here depending on how I was feeling in the morning.

24km today, and not feeling quite so fresh tonight.

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13 thoughts on “Cape Wrath Trek Day 2

  1. Wow, I like the photo looking down to Deanich Lodge; it shows just how remote and wild spot this is. I once passed it on my bike as part of a long day trip from Garve to Alness – along Strath Vaich, Glen Mor, Glen Calvie and Strath Rusdale. (Before Lister bought Alladale)

  2. Thanks swanscot. One good thing about the mist and rain is that it makes for very nice atmospheric photos.
    Garve to Alness – That is a long trip., passing through stunning scenery though.

  3. Thank you for sharing your experiences! I love your photos and reading about your adventures with the amazing Scottish landscape and weather. I live in Los Angeles and in April 2006 took a coach tour in Scotland which took us one day to a tea stop at the Cape Wrath Hotel. Here’s a link to a photo I took from inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dianneybob/5254029338/in/photostream . Our tour guide told me that this wasn’t really at Cape Wrath, that it was quite a distance away (I believe he said 12 miles, but I’m not sure of that) and difficult to get to, certainly not reachable by coach. Since then, I have been curious and for awhile tried to find out more online about Cape Wrath and that hotel, which had closed and promised to open later after some remodeling. As far as I can tell, it is no longer a hotel and maybe is a private residence now. However, through my searches for more information about Cape Wrath I found your site, which has convinced me that it really is difficult to get to, but worth it for the adventurous (and those who, I’m assuming, can use a compass). Congratulations on your photos and descriptions of your experiences, and thank you for the chance to experience Cape Wrath vicariously through them. I’m 67 and enjoy hiking and photographing, but there are definitely limits to how adventurous I am in real life!

  4. I am, at last, having a look at your posts now that I am home from France…and am enjoying your trip from the warmth of my study. These photos here really show the isolation, the terrain and geology an will evoke many differing emotions in people depending on how they are feeling when they look at them. Having had, and still having, a really busy time I look with longing at the tranquility of the Bothy! (But perhaps when the lightning struck it wasn’t quite so tranquil! Imagine if you had been in there at the time!!!!)
    I particularly like the composition of the flow around the bothy in the last photo.

  5. It`s a pity about the bothy being burned down.I much preferred it to the old one next door.The stove was a cracker 🙂
    I was one of the last folk in it back in April.Superb weather…unlike the rest of the so called “summer”..!
    Alex.

  6. Pingback: Freshly Pressed | Luachmhor

  7. Hi there, looks like a great trek into Glenbeg. Hoping to stay there myself in Jan with a couple of of friends. What nick is inside of the original bothy like? Is there sleeping platforms or a wooden floor? Can you kip upstairs.

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