Author Topic: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail  (Read 5027 times)

IanyZen

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“Don’t beat yourself up if you cannot find the path, just make your own way in the right direction” Iain Harper
 If you’re okay with this, you’ll be at home on the Cape Wrath Trail


Hola amigos,
In case you haven't read any of our adventures before I'll introduce us - I'm Zen, the 4-legged cute but tough one in the photos.
My job is to find the best path through the bogs and take the p*ss out of Ian, who is not so tough.
As good as my bog avoiding skills are, Ian is as bad at map reading. His job is to not get us too lost, too often. Ian also has the unenviable task of carrying our casita (tent) and my food!
It's hard typing with these paws so I'll not write much and forgive me for posting any photos upside down. Same paw excuse. (pun intended)
 
“Zen, you cannot keep using the same paw pun!”   :-[
"So Zen, what aspirations have you got for this adventure?"
 
"Glad you asked, my wish list -
Long sun-drenched days
Freedom forests to run in
Fresh streams and rivers to quench thirst
Cooling snow for massages
Remote hut stays
Wild camps everywhere - hills, lochs, rivers, sandy beaches with ace views of course
My fav trekking food and treats
Fab surprise reward at end, and a . .
Hot b*tch to play with and fall in love
- not asking too much?"
 
"Hmm, a bit over the top with the 'sun'! It is Scotland after all"
 
"Oh, and NO swinging suspension bridge challenges"
"Don't worry, no bridge challenges” - Zen’ll be begging me by the end for bridges across the rivers, even swinging ones"
"The only challenge, a tough one, is to get to Cape Wrath Lighthouse"
"Un faro - hopefully enlightenment at the end - he needs it!"
 
Day One
I'm quite fond of a long train journey and they don't come much longer than Brighton to Inverness.
First equipment failure, already - my water bottle split - Resourceful Ian purchased a new wided-mouthed, easy to refill one.
To my relief, we visited the local pet shop for my fav trekking food & scooby meaty snacks.  O0
 
Ian successfully pleaded to the bus station manager to get me on the bus to Fort William
(no dogs allowed on most City Link services).
 :)
On the journey, I eagerly scanned the Loch, but no Nessie – phew”
We camped in the drizzle outside Fort William - I ruined Ian's inside mesh tent repairs by escaping while he had a shower.
Not keen on being shut in when there’s a fab world out there to discover.


Any adventure that starts with a ferry is cool in my book!
Hopped off & looked for directional signs, for me to leave my usual starting mark (p*ss) and Ian to familarise himself with the siiii . . , but arrr !
"Ian, no signs!"  :o
"I know, we must use the map. No worries, we just head North, what can go wrong?"
Gulp!
“A lot! My worst fears realised immediately - we headed South!"  :crazy2:
 
“I don’t know where we are going but we are on our way… will it be an outdoor adventure or an inner voyage of discovery?”
 
Off the lead road walking - no cars, no one in sight - just the two of us – super.
Paranoia got to Ian after a couple of hours, thinking he had missed the turn off, frantically analysing the map he realised distances were depicted larger - why does he have to insist on learning on the job? - Glad he's not a vet!


Ben Nevis – I think. We’ve been twice to Fort William but never attempted to climb it


Wire bridge - "How's your balancing Zen?"
 
A first day, quiet meandering welcome introductory stroll, just a few sodden paths, sucking you into thinking the Cape Wrath Trail will be easy . . .



I’m intrigued, what is this Trail all about . .?
Wild, spectacular and more . .

 
Sudden hail shower - We found shelter under this -



First sight of people. Strange .. .not people - Ian shared an ice-cream – surely, nothing to celebrate yet, or maybe it was our last chance to enjoy one..


“Hey! You said NO suspension bridges!”   :knuppel2:
Avoided, thankfully.
 

Corryhully Bothy – one of very few with electricity and dry firewood, such luxury.


Stayed with two other hikers, seriously laden down, who’d taken 2 days to get here.
The Trail is tough!

Good to be up and running so early with my wish list – hut stay ticked off.
 O0
« Last Edit: 19:03:49, 14/09/19 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

Jac

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #1 on: 19:26:38, 14/09/19 »
Welcome back Zen, you're looking good  - and Ian too, of course.
Looking forward to this trip as I always enjoy Zen's humour :)
So many paths yet to walk, so little time left

IanyZen

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #2 on: 20:08:37, 14/09/19 »
Welcome back Zen, you're looking good  - and Ian too, of course.
Looking forward to this trip as I always enjoy Zen's humour :)
"Thanks Jac, it's good to be back to share our adventures . . Day Two coming up . . . "
Zen  :coolsmiley:
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

IanyZen

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #3 on: 20:33:13, 14/09/19 »
Day Two
‘Walking, a pleasure we suffer, a cure we enjoy.’


 
 Low hill hugging drizzly mist greeted our exit from the bothy – onwards and upwards on the trail, to our first river crossings.
Ian had grown some weird arm extensions, making him look like some sort of 4-legged Martian spider. Most peculiar.
I’m all for going on all fours, but this is ridiculous!  ;D
I tried to show Ian ‘the Zen way of crossing rivers’ – just dive in and wade straight across. No worries.
Ian insisted on boulder hopping trying to keep his feet dry, which was pointless - it was raining, and the trails were mini streams…
And he had holes in his walking shoes!
Ian can be obstinate and wouldn’t listen or learn as I repeated my lesson on the 2nd river crossing.   :tickedoff:
Tragically he slipped…


Please look away now if you do not like the sight of blood . . .  :(
 
Warning you . . .




(Photo taken in bothy)

Call us Zen brothers – I reckon my Zen has rubbed off on him as after a few explicit 4 letter words, screamed and echoed down the glen he nonchalantly cleaned and inspected the wound – no bones sticking out - glanced back at the 1 hour walk we’ve done and calmly continued on, upwards into the rain & mist.
 O0 
Unsurprisingly lesson was learnt on next river – no qualms – Ian went straight through the rapids without breaking stride.
Maybe my ‘dad’ is tougher than I make out.    :)                                                           
 
 
We descended into Gleann Cuirnean





Me, wandering off path, well there was no path . .



Nice – sturdy bridge over River Pean



Freedom forest – ticked off my wish list



We were first guests at A’Chuil Bothy, which was cold and dark, but invitingly dry.
Ian’s poor attempt at fire making with the pitiful pile of twigs was appreciated, without much warming effect, sadly.
His ripped, blood splattered waterproof trousers and shin were embarrassing, but I didn’t really care.
We were out in the wild, snuggling up together and warming up.
 :smitten: 
Tomorrow, Glen Dessarry and the appropriately named 'Rough Bounds of Knoydart' gloriously await.
 :) 
« Last Edit: 20:40:56, 14/09/19 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

sunnydale

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #4 on: 21:23:22, 14/09/19 »
Enjoyed that lots Zen, thanks for posting! (you're such a clever doggy! :D )
Great photos too!


Tracey :)
***Happiness is only a smile away***

Owen

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #5 on: 09:56:46, 15/09/19 »
Nice photo's and write up.

richardh1905

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #6 on: 10:33:33, 15/09/19 »
Nasty would that - make sure that you look after him, Zen.
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain

IanyZen

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #7 on: 23:28:25, 15/09/19 »
Day Three
‘Walking - A joy that disturbs you, knocks you out of your comfort zone.
 
It’s just been Ian & I for a while now, Ian with not having much success in his quest for a mate.
“Ian, I’m puzzled. Your friend’s advice to find a partner: ‘Go out and do something wild’, I don’t think they were thinking of Knoydart, the wildest, remotest, part of the Scottish Highlands!”
“Hmm, you could be right Zen” – We never saw a soul all day!”
 
We headed through the boggy forest (if I forget to write the word ‘boggy’, just assume that it is) then upwards over rough terrain (same applies to word 'rough')  to Upper Glen Dessarry, the path dwarfed by 3 surrounding Munros, reminiscent of a Lord of the Rings scene.



"Ian, you need some new boots?





Me having a bath.. I wish Ian would .. after 3 days, he doesn't smell ... well you can imagine.


First views of magnificent Loch Nevis
Fingers crossed beach walk ahead...  :)


Loch Nevis and beautiful inviting wooden furnished Sourlies bothy (just to left of Zen in the photo, it's very small)

Carnoch Bridge has been removed, and not replaced yet – so Ian, undeterred, after Sourlies headed along the beach
"Yeah..beach walk " and up the East side of the river.
(Ian has since read that this way is not recommended, especially when the river is in spate - Ian's planning is usually very good)

I yelped when virtually Ian’s entire leg disappeared in the bog, thick muddy, sludgy variety - Yuk … Scary to think, I’d have been swallowed up.  :o
Carnoch River was wide, deep and fast flowing. This is going to be tricky.
We crossed 3 tributary rivers, each slightly troublesome, just to find a spot, higher up the glen to cross Carnoch River, only for Ian to wade half-way across before glancing back to see me trembling all alone, left on the bank.
Thankfully he came back.  :angel:
“Got cold feet Zen?” ;D
I had, but not as much as his...the water was straight from the snow speckled Munros.
We tried higher up, the very last place possible and crossed slowly with me tied to Zen...no leaving me this time.

Circling round through a narrow gorge to reveal a stunning clearing -

This made a cool break, though Ian used it to calm his heart down..the river crossing was a nervous one.

“Zen, life is chaotic. We fight to gain control, struggle to find rhythm & regularity.
Sometimes, we need to throw ourselves into the natural world, trusting our survival skills. Anarchy abounds as we carelessly wander the wrong way, discovering treasures, stop for a break to sit on an inviting stone and on carefree whim, set up a wild-camp.”
 
“Ian, in your case . . . set up camp when you get lost!”  ;D
 
“Zen, a wiser man than me said, ‘Not all who meander, are lost’ (John Muir)”
 
We meandered, zig-zagging down the waterlogged pathless terrain for the best part of an hour, then another half, before Ian finally admitted, “Zen, we’re lost”.  :-[
Never in doubt!
We turned back.
For punishment, I took us back along the exact same zig-zagged route, drenching his feet once more!  :D
It also guaranteed we didn't get more lost.  Believe me, with Ian that is possible!

I’ll give Ian some credit for one good decision – we wild camped at the stunning clearing, which he knew was on the path.
Ian reflected in a tough day.
“Knoydart is special - I feel we are slowly getting acquainted. The Highlands are gradually becoming our friends.
The more we meander, the less we seem lost”
 :smitten:
« Last Edit: 23:32:50, 15/09/19 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

Owen

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #8 on: 06:18:22, 16/09/19 »
I'm not sure there is a path from there on, I just walked up the stream through the gorge.

richardh1905

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #9 on: 08:36:30, 16/09/19 »
Wonderful, wild country. The river crossings sound as if they are not for the faint hearted, though!
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain

April

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #10 on: 16:31:57, 16/09/19 »
What a great read Zen, I hope Ian's leg is getting better  O0

That is wild walking country up there  :)
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

Jac

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #11 on: 17:21:55, 16/09/19 »
Ouch - hope the leg has healed ok. Another triumph, Zen, retracing your (zig zags) steps to keep Ian from total lostness :)
So many paths yet to walk, so little time left

IanyZen

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #12 on: 22:29:48, 17/09/19 »
Nasty would that - make sure that you look after him, Zen.
"Thanks Richard for the vote of confidence . . . being at the same level of Ian's leg I get an eyeful all day long.
The rain and river crossings seem to be keeping it clean plus there's plenty of fresh up here"
Zen
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

IanyZen

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #13 on: 23:35:00, 17/09/19 »
Day Four
‘Life’s events, have shaped us, our minds, out of shape, time to walk that mind back into shape.’
 
There’s nothing like waking up, not knowing the way, to focus your mind!
“Vamos Zen. Let’s find that path out of here!”
… I love the confidence, but there were no paths!
 
“Zen this feels right”
Great, we’re reduced to gut feeling to get out of here . .  :D


A leap of faith, well more like a scramble up the slope to reveal the view of the snaking river we'd zig-zagged-back and forth along 3 times . . .
And a path heading North.  O0

Hey, we were on our way, speedily, skipping up and over and down . .




View of Barrisdale Bay ahead



Oooh, Stags and a bothy (we were meant to be last night)


Our renewed cheerfulness was matched by the uplift in the weather with patches of blue sky and thankfully no drizzle.








We lunched by the Bay and then continued on what seemed a well-defined path, but soon faded into short sharp climbs and drops around the Loch to Kinloch Hourn, where a tarmac road greeted us and even better … a B&B. 
Ian took no arm twisting to grab the last room going.  ;D
Ian glorified in a long overdue steaming hot soapy shower and I got a jet powered cold water hosing down! Part of the deal to let us stay.
I did get my own bed though . . please don’t tell the B&B owner.  :P
A well-earned and needed kip.  :)
zzzzz
 :smitten: 
« Last Edit: 23:42:28, 17/09/19 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

richardh1905

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #14 on: 08:36:38, 18/09/19 »
Fine atmospheric photos, that path looks very enticing, and a good shot of the stag.
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain