Expedition: Brakes of Wrath Pt. 1 The Plan

Alternative title: Not all heroes wear Cape(s) Wrath

A few years ago I cycled the ‘Tour de Turret‘, a three day trip from Nottingham to London via ten castles. This was an amazing, although pretty challenging, trip but it did make me hungry for more. Well this year, i’m back for more!

This expedition combines a number of loves and ambitions:

  • Be in the wild on my own for a few days
  • Be in Scotland (one of my favourite places)
  • Multi-day cycle tour
  • Visit Cape Wrath – The most north-westerly point of the UK mainland

Training
Since March I’ve been cycling to work 2-3 times a week which is a 18 mile (26km) round journey. On top of that I somehow managed to cycle the 110 mile (180km) Dunwich Dynamo in July – one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. More recently I clocked up back to back 60+ mile (100+km) days to Manningtree and back. I have managed all these things but I have found them pretty tough.

The Route

Ok, the basic plan is to get the sleeper train up to Inverness, cycle up to Cape Wrath and then back to Inverness all in five days. I’ve been advised to do a clockwise circuit via Ullapool on the way out as this will be my best chance of a tail-wind. I’m praying to Poseidon right now! I have tried to include a couple of castles on route but there doesn’t seem to be many on the western side of Sutherland and Caithness.

Not including getting lost and any detours, my plan is cycle 300 miles (480km) which averages out at 60 miles (96km) a day. It feels doable but very challenging. On the one hand I have literally all day and in theory 60 miles should only take 5-6 hours. On the other hand I’ve never cycled five days consecutively in my life. Eek.

Wild Camping
My preferred way to cycle tour would be to bivvy and hopefully see the stars. If it rains a lot, however, that could be very grim indeed. I therefore plan to take my little one man MSR Hubba tent. I fully reserve the right to abandon all this and B&B if need be. I’m no hero.

I’ll also have a stove for making hot water for coffee and dehydrated meals. I also plan of taking my small but amazing MSR water filter. This way I should be able to fill my water bottles more or less anywhere along the route.

Two weeks to go, wish me luck!

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