Cape Wrath Trek Day 6
The day dawned; grey, wet, and windy. It was only just after 4am, but I couldnt sleep. At some point during the last couple of hours, I had managed to kick my rucksack outside of the tarp slightly, I had also slid down my sleeping mat, and my bivvy bag was now getting a good soaking. The rain was hammering off the tarp and the wind did its best, big bad wolf impression; huffing and puffing at me, thankfully to no avail. I did manage to secure a good pitch last night after all.
I was still warm and dry inside my sleeping bag, inside the bivvy, but I was seriously contemplating terminating this walk. I had a great old wrestle with myself, asking the old familiar questions that crop up when the going gets tough.
Why am I doing this again?
Am I really enjoying it?
What’s the point?
All questions on other trips that I have successfully ignored, pressing on regardless, looking back through the old rose tinted and convincing myself that, yes, it had been worthwhile, I did get good photos, I did enjoy the trek, the downsides weren’t that many, and I do have the memories. But this time it was different. I couldn’t ignore these questions and the overwhelming appeal of sitting at home in front of a warm fire and a nice glass of red wine. My knees were sore, the weather was miserable, and I had no idea of the weather forecast if it would clear or not. My journey this day was supposed to take me over Carn nan Conbhairean and the southern ridge of Ben More Assynt – a ridge that apparently rivals the Aonach Eagach – and then on to Conival, Eas a’Chualainn waterfall and then down to Glencoul Bothy. A hard day in store.
Looking at the maps, there were a couple of other options, but all 3 involved similar long walks in these torrential conditions. 2 other alternatives were to stay put, but I really didnt fancy that in the tarp. If I had the tent, I think I would have done. The other option was to quit the trip altogether, walk back out to the A837 road, about 7 kms, and phone someone to come and get me. I struggled with this decision for about 3 hours.
Staying put was not an option – not in the tarp.
Go on or go back?
Its not as if I hadn’t been to Cape Wrath before. I walked there from Sandwood Bay in 2008.
The hills will still be there tomorrow – a favourite saying of mine.
I am generally a fair weather walker, but dont mind a little bad weather now and again. But this was some of the worst weather I had seen.
Go on or go back?
Going back had the advantage of a clear track. of visibility. of easier walking. of a warm fire at the end of the day. To be out of the rain.
Decision was made. I was going home. Time to be sensible, and not stubbornly carry on, pretending Im enjoying it. In reality I hated that day, in getting myself into that situation, and having to make that decision. Looking back now, I know I made the right choice. The wisest choice. Oh dear – a grown-up choice.
15.5km today. sore, tired, and wet.