When we stepped outside, it was wonderful to find that the clouds and dull weather had all dissipated overnight. The weather was a little overcast, but the water was still. On the way home, we both made a promise that we would be back again the following year. The penultimate section started from Croick Church, possibly one of the most haunting reminders of the clearances, with the names of the families who sheltered there after their houses were burned to remove them etched into the glass windows. 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. Cape Wrath. This was the ride I did against all odds and completed anyway, always with a smile. Its beauty is in its simplicity, but don’t confuse simple with basic. After work on the Friday evening I chucked my bike on the roof of my car and took the long drive up to Durness. Straight Cut Designs for making a custom bag for the InSearchOf that carried everything I needed and worked like a dream. Gear that Worked Find her story of pushing herself in the face of failure here…, Words by Naomi Freireich (@frikfrak74), photos by Charlie Lees (@charlielees). Laura's packs. My Achilles tendon at my left heel was really painful and the climbing of the day before was evident in my legs. There is no escaping it I’m afraid! Click the link below to find out how to start. Standing there in the wind and rain, I knew the old me would have been making my excuses already, but in that moment I knew I was ready for this, and I also knew just what completing the journey no matter what now would mean to me. Crammed into a long weekend, this would be tight, with work sandwiching either side, plus the intricacies of the route itself. Climb three was comparatively easy, which was good because I needed everything I had for the Corrieyairack. People have been strapping bags to handlebars and donning backpacks since the dawn of mountain biking, and using their knobbly-tyred bikes to explore remote routes unreachable on day trips. 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. Bikepacking An Turas Mor Glasgow to Cape Wrath, Solo and packrafting across Kyle Of Durness to finish. to support us & get The Bikepacking Journal. Day one can be described as incredible remoteness, tough hike-a-bike, rain, wind, and stunning landscapes. When faced with hardship and no reward for enduring, what is there to spur you on to succeed? It was lovely to stop and chat to both and hear the stories of their ride. It’s not actually a trail though, but a route. At 9am, the wee boat turned up and helped us load the bikes for the short crossing. I’d done it. 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. Riding along the familiar West Highland Way, even in the opposite direction to the other times I’ve ridden it, felt like I was home already. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband, two children and two step children, where she works as an IT Project manager. Home Blog Bikepacking Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy, Glenfeshie. Thankfully the track has been partially tarmacked thanks to a heavy MOD presence in the area. This time, we finally got to see all those spectacular sceneries. 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. What differentiates this new wave of bikepacking is the specialised gear that’s emerged and the popularisation of Day 3 stats: 225km and 3478m of climbing. The wet clothes were promptly hung on the dryer and a quick walk down to the beach was next on the agenda to collect any driftwood for the fire that night. Surely the turn onto the path that would lead us down to Kearvaig Bothy was close! The Cape Wrath Trail runs from Fort William to Cape Wrath on Scotland’s northwest coast, for approximately 280 miles. To view them all, click through to the komoot Collection and hit … 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!). In a sense, at least. This was the hardest section of the ride and I was through it. It was here I knew I could do it. We got the bikes packed up and headed out to the pickup point for the ferry. Little of the north of Scotland is inhabited, either through its unsuitability or because of the devastating Highland clearances of the 1700s. Fast and fun. UK official off-road bikepacking routes. 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. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @frikfrak74. 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. 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. During this period of uncertainty, it has been nice to return to thinking about our more basic needs. 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. As we climbed away from the coast and inland, the midges dissipated and gave way to some light drizzle. Visiting Kearvaig and Cape Wrath had been on my bucket list for a long time. Accidentally switching off my alarm meant my morning routine was condensed to 15 minutes of mad panic. The rest was (almost) all downhill. There ware many stops along the way to take in the sites of the MOD buildings and abandoned homes. I’d ridden it once before with Charlie a couple of years ago and knew what was ahead of me. And of course, with each climb came an adrenaline-inducing descent. Here I met two separate riders going the other way, the first people I’d met on the trails all day. The jackets were packed away, and shorts were called for now. 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. 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… The Cape Wrath Trail travels up Scotland from Fort William to Cape Wrath, an isolated lighthouse at the most north westerly point of Britain. High up (Ullapool / Cape Wrath) or lower (Glasgow/Fort William)? We must have missed it a while back. It didn’t take long to drift off that night! I could imagine the views would be stunning had the cloud not been so low. Originally published in The Bikepacking Journal 03, Ditibised is Alexandera Houchin’s extraordinary story of training for the Tour Divide, framed in four seasons…. Naomi Freireich is the current UK and European 24-hour Mountain Bike Champion and a GORE Wear athlete. I awoke early next day. Located in Sutherland in the Highlands of Scotland, Cape Wrath is the most northwestern point of the UK. 26 inch retro frame, some wide bars, get those wide tyres in and let's get going. I think everybody on this forum that uses one has the same opinion. 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. All that remained was the small matter of what now. Trust me. All in, 175km and 3,281m of climbing. What is Bikepacking? Quick, lightweight 29er modern mountain bike, a genuine multi-activity hardtail. A shorter day at 124km, but still over 3000m of climbing. This was a ride that was to mark my growth in mindset. Multi-activity 29er for fast, flowy trails, hurtling over (US) 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. I’d been up in the night needing the toilet and had to hobble. This time, we finally got to see all those spectacular sceneries. 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. 33 mi. When you live on the south coast, Scotland seems an awful long way away. We parked up the van next to Ceannabeinne Beach, which was utterly breathtaking. 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! 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. The further on we progressed, the more the bad weather came in. We believe travel by bicycle has the power to encourage conservation, inclusivity, and respect for all people and cultures. 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. The fourth issue of The Bikepacking Journal hit mailboxes this spring. 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. 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. There is no escaping it I’m afraid! 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. About. I would really recommend bikepacking to anyone who loves to ride a bike. At the time of researching the route, the most information I had was someone thinking the record was around three days. Early the next morning we were up and brewing a nice cuppa ready for the day ahead. Lael, Chris, Erik & Rue explore the High Sierras of California with bikes and bike backpacks. This would be among the most beautiful places I passed through on the ride. Dinner was a one pot masterpiece of chicken curry and rice. 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. The Cape Wrath Trail is often referred to as Britain’s toughest long distance walk. View The Map, There are some routes that are made classic by their sheer perfection, and others by races. Feeling refreshed we took a few tourist pics and cracked on back along the route we had came back towards the bothy at Kearvaig. 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. By the time I reached the road again, it was dark. The Cape Wrath Fellowship. Why did it have to be an FKT to be worth doing? 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. Day two was all about climbing. 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. Blue skies and warm sunshine had come out to see us off! As we climbed away from the coast and inland, the midges dissipated and gave way to some light drizzle. A great overnight trip to the Ruigh Aiteachain bothy on the Glenfeshie estate to celebrate a couple of phat boys birthdays. With stunning drone shots and a voiceover by Lee, the short film depicts an adventure with a twist. Quick, lightweight 29er modern mountain bike, a genuine multi-activity hardtail. Exposure lights for their excellent bike lights keeping me safe on the roads and on the right path off them. Of course, the best choice for you is very much dependent on what 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. Simply put, bikepacking is the synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping; it evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking, with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. And finally, to Charlie. Damn! 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. Rocky Mountains Horses Travel Paths Destinations Horse Trips Traveling Words 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. I would be starting having already failed. I didn’t know what to expect. Derek Buttle 1930-2017 Undertaking a 560-kilometre bikepacking route through the wilds of the far north of Scotland in autumn weather definitely takes a certain mindset. I rode through a large estate and then on through spectacular glens, beneath mountains, and past solitary dwellings into the growing dusk. 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. 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). Mindset. Beyond the damn, however, the paths became rough and loose and at times very boggy. The bothy is known as one of the best in Scotland. Multi-activity 29er for fast, flowy trails, hurtling over (EU) A truly magical place that’s well worth the effort to get to. As the night rolled on, we kept the fire going with driftwood and some slow burning firelogs. Thankfully, everything was packed from the day before and that surge of adrenaline meant I wasn’t thinking about the pain. My goal was to go faster. 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. Despite her attempt to set the new fastest time on Scotland’s An Turas Mór being invalidated before she could even start pedaling, Naomi Freireich recently set out for a solo time trial from Cape Wrath to Glasgow. Another hydro road climb followed by a beautiful switchback descent took me close to Killin and a lunch break. Click the link below to learn about each. I stopped for lunch with Charlie after the second of these descents, the climb to which had been on an old and very rocky military road. Home. The tracks were quite reasonable and the climbs all doable at a casual pace. Nothing my bike couldn’t handle. Yum. We had a ferry to catch, so had a fairly strict time plan to keep to. Fast and fun. West Coast of Scotland sounds nice. 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. After work on the Friday evening I chucked my bike on the roof of my car and took the long drive up to Durness. This time there was no missing the track. It didn’t fail to live up to its expectations. 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. 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. The drizzle turned into rain and we were both getting fairly soaked by this point. There ware many stops along the way to take in the sites of the MOD buildings and abandoned homes. The drizzle turned into rain and we were both getting fairly soaked by this point. I like to keep track of what gear worked and what didn’t on my backpacking trips for future reference. From there, the path became more familiar to me. The jackets were packed away, and shorts were called for now. 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. 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! Try one. View All Features. The Cape Wrath Trail is considered the hardest hiking route in the United Kingdom. Publications. I have heard stories that the sense of remoteness and isolation make you think about life a little more poetically. For 70 years, Cycling UK’s Cape Wrath Fellowship has put cyclists to the test. The bikes were soon back on the roof and we started the long drive back home to Grantown. After checking in with Charlie and deciding on a camping spot for the night, one final small climb of the day was all that remained. 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 … 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. But I knew this ride counted more than an FKT would. 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. I woke late on day three. Expect fully loaded bikes, empty roads & wilderness, campfires, bothies, tents, and a steady flow of single malt… Hardtail trail centre mountain bike compatible with 27.5+ or 29 inch wheels. 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