248 miles, 11,200m of ascent, over 100 river and stream crossings and 1 incredible adventure!
There’s a very remote lighthouse at the most North Westerly tip of Scotland in a wee place called Cape Wrath. There’s also a tiny café with a chap who will serve you coffee and snacks if you’re a bit parched which is quite handy when you’ve just run, walked, waded and hobbled 248 miles to get there.
After completing the Marathon Des Sables last year it was clear I’d raised the bar for myself so was looking for another exceptional challenge to repeat or even exceed the experiences I’d had in the Sahara. I was looking at ultras across the world that would give me new awe inspiring sights, testing environments and a very different adventure. As it turned out, I didn’t even need to get my passport out of the drawer after all, I found my next epic journey just a few hundred miles North in the form of the Inaugural Cape Wrath Ultra.
Event Director Shane Ohly had come up with this brainchild three years ago and with the help of Race Director Gary Tompsett and a very tight crew it had finally come to fruition for 2016. The Cape Wrath Trail is one of the longest and most challenging hikes in the UK typically taking around 15-20 days to walk. The Cape Wrath Ultra however would (with a few slight variations) aim to complete this in just eight days. This would mean running (when possible) around 248 miles over a very Scottish terrain with climbs totalling more than 11,000 metres throughout the course, that’s 1.25 x the height of Everest!
And it’s a bloody long way!
Competitors will race from point to point each day whilst the team would pack away the camp and have it back up again at the next location hopefully in time for the first competitors returning.
We’d have to carry our day bags for the distance with any food and some mandatory items for survival on the mountains should anything go wrong as we would at times be out in some very remote areas which would take up to twelve hours even for mountain rescue to get to us There would be no food or water stops as on many races, we carry our own and top up in any of the 100+ river and stream crossings along the route. There are also no markers pointing the way, we have maps, compasses and GPS if required, which if you’re not on the ball could potentially still not be enough (we’ll get to that bit later).
So… it went a little bit like this: