I will be walking the Scottish National Trail from Kirk Yetholm to Cape Wrath in April 2021 or possibly Autumn 2020. Reasons for postponing this walk to 2021. I will update this blog as I go. Update March 2020: my Scottish National Trail Gear List (this may be changed slightly depending on the weather conditions nearer the start). I have also given an idea of my route on the map below.
During the walk I will be using and reviewing as much British gear as I can. I will also be trying to wild camp every night, partly to keep the costs down and partly because I love the freedom this brings. I don’t have a strict timetable; I’m lucky that I don’t have a date I must finish by. This freedom was one of the main factors behind my completion of my LEJOG+ 3 Peaks walk in 2019 and The Cape Wrath Trail in 2017. It’s so much more relaxing and enjoyable when you’ve not got the pressure of a schedule you have to stick to.
Recommended reading: Cicerone Cape Wrath Trail book.
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The Scottish National Trail was devised by Cameron McNeish and is a challenging 864km (536m) unofficial long distance walk. The route runs the length of Scotland end to end, from Kirk Yetholm to Cape Wrath.
The Scottish National Trail uses sections of official routes such as St Cuthbert’s Way, the Southern Upland Way, the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals, the West Highland Way, the Rob Roy Way and finishes with the Cape Wrath Trail. The route is easy enough to start with but becomes more difficult as it heads north. Where there isn’t a continuous path or sign posts, and there are a number of potentially hazardous river crossings. You need to be confident in your map reading skills and ability to be self sufficient. There will be a number of days without resupply and where wild camping will be necessary.
I love long distance walks because they take me places that I wouldn’t usually choose to go and these places are often more interesting than expected. A good example of this is the 8 mile (12.6km) section of the route between Pitlochry and Blair Athol that looks a little dull on the map, but I’ve since discovered it is no.38 of ITVs 100 favourite walks. So this should be a nice stretch after all!
If I complete the Scottish National Trail and reach Cape Wrath early enough, I will then head for the Isle of Skye and walk the Skye Trail before leaving Scotland at the end of May.
My Scottish National Trail Gear List may be changed slightly depending on the weather conditions nearer the start time. It will be similar to my TGO Challenge Gear List but I’m replacing a lot of the clothing with EDZ and Paramo. Thank you EDZ layering for your support.
Please contact me if there’s anything specific you’re interested in and would like me to look into or review on the walk.
Companies whose products I’ll be using on this walk:
AtomPacks – Rucksack
Lightwave – Tent
Paramo – Trousers, fleece and windproof
PHDesigns – Down sleeping bag and Jacket
MountainTrails – Dehydrated meals
Rohan – Sun hat and head band
Inov-8 – Boots and merino base layer
Ulefone Armor 3W – phone, camera, GPS and mapping *
*The Ulefone Armor 3W waterproof phone is my favourite piece of hiking gear and really helps on expeditions like this. It has well over 2 weeks battery life in regular use and makes hikes like this much easier and safer. All pictures will be taken with the phone, plus I’ll be using it to track my route and for primary map reading. I’ve loaded the OS Landranger 1/50,000 maps for the whole of the UK on to it. You can read my full review of the Ulefone Armor 3W phone here. It was essential on my LEJOG and 3 Peaks walk. The more I use this phone, the more I’m loving it.
Further reading that may be of interest:
Recommended reading for the most difficult part of The Scottish National Trail: Cicerone Cape Wrath Trail.
My Lands End to John O’Groats and 3 Peaks walk (short story)
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