Day 16: Loch Merkland to Cape Wrath - Great North Trail
Includes a ferry crossing
Check ferry timetable.
1 in total
Mountain Biking Highlight
Katherine Moore planned a mountain bike ride.
January 6, 2020
Brace yourself - it’s the last day! You might be sad or relieved to have reached this point, but no matter how you’re feeling, you will certainly be in for a treat today as you head to Cape Wrath. It’s the most North-Westerly point of the United Kingdom mainland but you’ll be glad to hear at the end of it there’s a cafe! There’s even a ferry crossing thrown in for good measure too today.
The route on this final 50 mile (80km) leg starts with a gravel road climb, continuing along the Highland Trail 550 route, passing Loch an t-Selig to start before descending off the top to meet Strathmore River. You follow along this waterway heading North on the Strathmore Hope Road before turning left onto unpaved roads again to cross the river.
The second climb of the day starts here to reach Am-Feur-Loch, then descending the switchbacks over the other side of the hill to the coastal Loch Eriboll. Make your way around the Southern tip of the water, and up the Western flank. Don’t be afraid to stop and take a look around Smoo cave as you’re passing, but make sure you check the ferry times for Keoldale first! This short trip doesn’t cost very much and is the main way into Cape Wrath.
What comes next is totally unique, and pretty bizarre. If you complete the last section from Keoldale Ferry to the Cape Wrath Lighthouse, you can apply to CyclingUK to be entered into the Cape Wrath Fellowship, established in 1949 to celebrate cyclists riding this challenging road in one of the most beautifully rugged and remote parts of the UK.
When you reach the Lighthouse at Cape Wrath you’ve made it - what an achievement! Time to put your feet up and enjoy some food and drink in the Ozone cafe before crossing back over the ferry. Congratulations!
January 8, 2020
Hiking Collection by Adventurer Nic
Bike Touring Collection by Mark Beaumont
Mountain Biking Collection by Katherine Moore