Sunday 17 April - Sheffield to Fort William
Base pack weights were about 7.5kg for Dave and about 6kg for me (without food or water or fuel). Dave's pack weight goes right on up there once the food gets added as I'm only carrying a few days of day food at most (being the weakling of the outfit).
We'd managed to get train tickets for £60 but only at very specific times so we left Sheffield at 12.56 and headed off on the journey north via Doncaster, Edinburgh and Glasgow - finally arriving at Fort William just after 10pm.
Stayed in a twin room at the Fort William Backpackers (http://www.fortwilliambackpackers.com/) which was great. It was near the train station and had a good relaxed atmosphere. We also had a good chat with Andy, one of the guys running the hostel, who'd done quite a lot of walking along the route we were taking and he recommended a couple of things that came in very useful later.
The journey up was easy and long, giving Dave a last chance to put some information on the paper sheets of route instructions and giving me a chance to look longingly out of the window on the way from Glasgow up - remembering last year's journey on the West Highland Way and spotting familiar valleys. There was much less snow on the tops this year. But the more we got in to the mountains the more excited I started to feel about what we were about to do and the more relish I felt in the change of scale within the year.
The West Highland Way was a great first backpack for me - straightforward in some ways but a definite step up from the occasional weekend backpacks - but the Cape Wrath Trail is something else altogether! Very few people (that I talked to) seem to have heard of the trail but one thing that all the blogs agree on is that it is a tough trail that requires serious effort. So the question remained - was I tough enough??