Cape Wrath Trail

Day 4: River Ling NG946329 - Strathcarron

I’d spent the night praying for rain and cloud, and so awoke disappointingly to clear, bright skies. It was going to be yet another scorcher unfortunately.

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[Glen Ling early morning]

I took the low route marked on the OS maps staying close to the river and crossing the bridge over the contributory of the River Ling. By the time I reached the bridge at about 8am, I was sweating with the heat. The tactic the night before had paid dividends, and so I used it again, this time soaking a hand towel in the burn and the wrapping it around my head and neck. It’s a style that will never adorn Paris fashion shows, but it works!

[Glen Ling]

The walk is a very pleasant one and not too strenuous. The climb is a steady one and never too steep. By the time the height of the walk (950ft) is reached you’re on a good forestry track for the descent through the forest into Strathan. From here it is a really easy plod into Attadale. I was still far from fit and healthy and felt relief at being on tarmac. I skirted by Attadale House and its beautiful looking gardens and headed straight to the train station over the road. It was an hour until a train to Strathcarron. I had two choices: walk the 2 mile road section, or sit and chill out for an hour and get the train. Feeling like I’d had the life kicked out of me, I chose the latter.

Chilling out in the sun on the stairs of the station I was soon joined by another solo hiker, from Slovenia. He too was attempting the Cape Wrath Trail. He’d already decided to quit though. We sat and chatted about our experiences and he’d had a really tough time of it. He was using greyscale photocopied maps and gotten lost on several occasions. On each of these occasions he described how he then climbed the nearest mountain to get his bearings. No wonder he was a wreck! He was throwing the towel in completely and was catching the train to Inverness and then bus to Durness. He said he would see me at Cape Wrath, I laughed and said “no chance”, there was no way I’d make that now!

The train came and we requested it to stop by hanging out an arm. The station itself is only long enough for one carriage door to be used, it had a feel of a day gone by to it. The journey was a short one and before long I stumbled through the door of the Strathcarron Hotel. I had a pint of coke and asked about evening meals first, and camping spots second. I was given a menu to look over, all full of the wonders I’d been missing of late forced instead to live on noodles and pasta. I was then shown the chicken field over the road where I could camp…as long as I didn’t mind the chickens!

[Camped opposite Strathcarron Hotel ]

I got pitched by early afternoon and had a good couple of hours sleep that did me the world of good, only the occasional pecking of my tent and boots made me stir. I had a fantastic meal that night too, Cullen Skink for starters and beef burger for my main. I also managed to cram down a bun with 4 portions of butter and 7 sachets of mayonnaise. It all counts! I took 2 Mars Bars, a packet of nuts and can of Iron Bru back to the tent for good measure. I think I was starting to perk up a little.