Final Participant Details
IMPORTANT – THIS UPDATE SUPERSEDES ALL PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED INFORMATION
Hello Team Cape Wrath Ultra™,
Excited?! We are! This might well be the last update before we see you in Fort William next week. We have gathered up all of the remaining items of interest and advice, and mentioned them below. You have also been superbly active and helpful in the CWU Participants Facebook Group. Good prep!
Final GPX Route
Most importantly, we have the final, and only slightly revised, GPX data on our download web page. It is our Version 2 GPX data for this event route. Please ensure you do not use version 1.
There are no changes that noticeably affect the overall distance or ascent, BUT there are minor route changes and corrections:
Oykel Bridge. The original GPX route that followed the river all the way to Loch Ailsh, has now been modified to head inland and up to a forest road, at the request of the landowner. This is the single biggest route variance - over several kms, but it actually makes the going easier, for a while.
Two overnight campsites that have moved to nearby better fields; Day 5 to Inverlael is now best described as Inverbroom (or if you zoom in; Clachan). Day 6 to Inchnadamph is now in a bigger field nearer to the loch.
Very slight tweakery that enables both the custom Harvey’s map and Ordnance Survey maps to represent the GPX well, when overlaid on their trail markings. These tweaks are generally no greater than 100 metres. You are unlikely to notice them.
Two rogue 200m off-trail mis-clicks – bet you never noticed them?!
The version 2 GPX has also been enhanced to show all Checkpoints and Passage Points as Waypoints-with-text, in the following form – examples: CP1 Bridge 13.00 and PP1 River (no bridge) 15.00, with the latter figures representing the Cut-off / Passage Guidance Times respectively. Overnight locations, Terrain Caution Info (replicated from Event Map), and on-route Bothies are also shown. All these Waypoints-with-text have Approach Alarms set (at generally 500 metres).
Please test this Version 2 GPX file ASAP and see how well it functions for you. Feedback appreciated. Use of the CWU Participants Facebook Group has also been very productive in this regard.
One final gift: Day 3 has been re-plotted so that it has less than 250 waypoints. This should remedy the issue that some participants had with uploading this day into older GPS devices. It was helpful to see this issue discussed in the Facebook Group, so that we knew to address it.
Participants! Are you ready? Adventure awaits! © Ben Winston
Before Saturday 21st May
We’ll be pretty busy setting up in the Nevis Centre on Saturday morning and won’t be able to ‘open the doors’ before 11am. We would advise you don’t choose to rush for the inevitable 11am queue at the start of the registration and kit-check period.
Many of you have already hooked up using the CWU Participants Facebook Group. Maybe some of you will arrange to meet somewhere on Friday evening? Apologies in advance if we don’t join you as we may be still massaging the weather forecast, sticking labels on things and ironing tents!
Saturday 21st May
At the Nevis Centre, Fort William
When you arrive at the Nevis Centre, aside from all the friendly meet-ups (and already a few reunions) it’s the Registration, Advice and Checking process that you’ll need to pass through. We’ll just try and keep it ‘bullet-pointy’ here, as you will find the actual on-site process very intuitive and friendly. The specific preparations that you have to make are very obvious, or already considered in the website.
You will be kit checked as the first stage of registration. Amongst other things, you will receive the CWU Event Map, be able to pick up your pre-purchased Blister Kit, your race number and a SPORTident Timing Card - attached using a Tyvek wristband. You will also have the opportunity to purchase your £12 buffet dinner token for the 20:00 buffet dinner for all the participants and event team. You have likely already seen that your race number has been allocated - yes, it just got real!
1100-1500 Registration Open. All participants must complete the registration process and it will take at least 90 minutes. We had previously described providing some advice workshops in the afternoon, but now intend to include this specific advice during the registration process. This will allow for greater personal interaction, and we can be certain everyone has had the correct advice from us. There will be a one-way system of desks that participants need to progress through in order. You will be handed a tick-box registration sheet that needs to ‘signed off’ at each desk during the registration process. The process will be:
- Bag Check / Mandatory Kit Check – Please bring both your Hill Bag AND Overnight Dry Bag – We will need to see your Overnight Dry Bag to check that it is the correct size and weight. If you are all packed we can take your Overnight Dry Bag at this stage, but you won’t have access to it again until the first Overnight Camp. There are various shops within a 10-minute walk for last-minute solutions. Please note that Dry Bags will be weighed as they are loaded into the vans on Sunday morning (they must be sub-80Litre and sub-20Kg). We will kit check your Hill Bag for items on the ‘Mandatory Day Clothing and Equipment’ list.
- ID + Contact Details Check – We will need to see photographic ID (passport or driving licence ideally) that proves the person standing in front of us, is the same person who has entered the race. A good quality photocopy of your ID is acceptable. We will also check your emergency contact number and own mobile contact number at this stage.
- T-Shirt & Blister Kit Collection – You can collect your (included) Cape Wrath Ultra™ t-shirt and your blister kit (if you pre-purchased one - we will bring spares in case you still wish to purchase a kit).
- Race Number etc. Collection – You can collect your race number, safety pins, car sticker, Tyvek straps etc, and pay for your 20:00 buffet meal (£12 cash only please). Car parking ticket available here if required.
- SI Dibber Collection – Here we will attach your SI dibber (the timing chip) and provide any training you require.
Registration processes 6-8 can be done in any order, to minimise queuing, and give plenty of opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
- GPS Tracker Training – You will receive some training on how the device works, but will only be issued with your tracker on Sunday morning.
- Safety and Kit Advice – Here you will receive some advice on river crossings and we can provide any other safety advice as required.
- Medical Advice – Here you can meet the event medics and discuss any medical concerns you wish to raise or receive advice about.
Please note you will need to hand in your completed tick-box registration sheet with sections 1-8 signed off, before you are registered to start the race.
- 1500 Last participants complete registration process (you must have started by 1400)
- 1500-1900 No organised activity. We will repurpose the room for the 1900 briefing, followed by the buffet, but there is plenty of room for you to hang out at the Nevis Centre while we do this.
- 1900 Participant Briefing, followed by short Q&A (strictly participants and event team only).
- 2000 Buffet Dinner, and a bar for liquor and soft drinks. This meal has wholesome vegetarian and meat dishes from an Inverness-based caterer. This meal is for participants and the event team only, and is accessed by presenting your token purchased at registration stage 4. We know from your replies earlier in the year that most of you are intending to join us for this meal and we think it will be a great time to get to know other competitors ahead of the race start, and for further informal Q&A.
- 2200 Bar and Nevis Centre closes
Sunday 22nd May
These locations are all shown on the Event Map you will be issued at registration.
- 0800-0830 Assemble at Nevis Centre. Collect YB GPS Tracker and deposit your Overnight Bag if you have not done so already.
- 0845 Sharp! Depart Nevis Centre and walk to ferry
- 0900-0930 Ferry from Fort William shore to the Camusnagaul shore opposite
- 0930-0945 Walk from the ferry slipway to Treslaig Village Hall
- 1000 Start
- 1001 Run to Cape Wrath over 8 days
Above: The exclusive competitors organic cotton t-shirt.
Other Admin/Info for Pre-Start
When driving from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Fort William: Please allow more than 2.5 hours. Over the years, 2.5 hours has become the developed norm for this journey. Please allow more time on the Saturday morning 21st May though - there have been several short road works on A85 and A82 and one long convoy system roadworks on the A82 just north of Tyndrum. Allow more time, and enjoy a couple of selfie stops on this beautiful journey. Traffic Scotland is a good journey delay planning resource.
This is a facility with much functionality for our use, and some for public use, including; Hall, Toilets, Showers, Kitchen, Café, and erm 10-Pin Bowling! Your supporters are welcome to join us in the Nevis Centre, but the Briefing is for Participants only.
You will need to arrange this external to the event and the Nevis Centre. Ideas include; your accommodation, Railway Station lockers, a local favour. To save you an unnecessary trip, we should add that the Fort William Tourist Information Centre has also advised the same.
We have an arrangement with the Highland Council that enables you to leave a car within a particular section of car park that is 100metres from the Nevis Centre. We will provide the required info at Registration on this. Other car park locations near the Nevis Centre, including the Nevis Centre’s own car park, will attract a penalty notice be aware (obvisluy you can park at the Nevis Centre car park on the Saturday for registration only). You may also find plenty of free street parking on the roads slightly elevated above the main road, and still within 5-10 minutes from the Nevis Centre.
Ear plugs might help. Eye shades/masks to aid longer sleeping with the early rising sun will almost certainly help!
YB GPS Trackers
There is a final opportunity to familiarise yourself with the information on the website about the GPS Trackers pre-event. Please make sure you are familiar with this information.
There will be a number of professional journalists covering the event. This includes Ian Corless from Talk Ultra (link), Rob Howard (SleepMonsters) and Rich Heap and Ben Pritchard from Slackjaw, who are filming for BMC TV and the event.
Links to Talk Ultra and SleepMonsters
Sunday 22nd May – Sunday 29th May
Regular day's schedule
- Starts: 0700-0900. (Except Day 1, which is 1000). Slowest runners must start the earliest. Advised start times will be printed out on you download print out at the end of each day.
- Finishes: Variable between 1500 and 2300. Anyone finishing later than 2300 will be retired from running on the following day.
- Course Closure: 2300. (Except Day 8, where course closure time is 1500)
Change to our Retirement Rules
With the best will in the world, we all know that not everyone starting the Cape Wrath Ultra™ will complete the course, and we have been thinking hard about how we can improve the experience of the runners who fail to meet our Cut-Off times, or the daily Course Closure Time. These times will still be rigorously enforced, but we allow participants to start ‘half-days’ rather than formally retiring participants from 'full' following days if they finish later than our Course Closure Time. This is absolutely subject to fitting in with our complex logistics: availability of transport, the weather, and many other factors… There are no guarantees but we shall endeavour to offer onward transport to 'half-days' as follows:
- Day 1 = Not Applicable
- Day 2 = No insertion option
- Day 3 = Yes, insertion at the 1/3 point
- Day 4 = Yes, insertion at the ½ way point
- Day 5 = No insertion option
- Day 6 = Yes, insertion at the ½ way point
- Day 7 = Yes, insertion at the ½ way point
- Day 8 = No insertion option
For example, if you fail to meet the Checkpoint Cut-Off time, or finish after the Course Closure Time on Day 2, you will have the option to be inserted into the 1/3 point of Day 3, rather than miss the entire day of the expedition.
We hope that you appreciate this added flexibility, and recognise that we want as many participants as possible to get the maximise experience of the fantastic route, but that we are ultimately limited by some complex logistics.
Other Admin/Info for During-Event
Nature of the route and terrain
This is essentially unchanged. Make sure that you have the latest (Version 2) GPX file if that is how you wish to follow the route. Everyone must also carry the event map, which some will choose to use solely for navigation, but it also has important safety information. The Event Map route-marking mirrors the GPX file. If there are to be any changes to the route we will inform you at Registration and at the Overnight Camps; evening and morning.
Survival of Bridges over-winter
So far, we have had only reports that indicate that bridges are intact.
The Weather, Midges and Ticks
There is nothing alarming to report at this stage. The longer, colder, drier winter this year may have supressed the emergence of midges and ticks, and provide us with drier terrain. But that could still change. Follow the weather forecasting.
Ecological Briefing Note
We have recently posted ecological briefing notes. Please take the time to read. You might even get some clues about the terrain!
You will reach places, and see sights that we as organisers will never reach during this week. Please bring us your photos! You may see an amazing rainbow, wildlife, and lighting effects. Perhaps even the Northern Lights at dusk. If you have a phone/camera, we can share this back to the followers and participants, (aspirationally) during and (more certainly) after the event.
Overnight Catering, Menu and related matters
We will do our best to provide some fresh fruit for competitors but issues around remoteness, supply and storage make this challenging. Tinned fruit will be available at breakfast every day. Please see the final menu.
Overnight Campsite Venue Visitors
Are not permitted. Please ask your supporters to meet you at Nevis Centre, the Start, Keodale ferry slipway, Durness Sango Bay campsite, or Durness Community Hall. It would be possible to meet you on-the-running route, but this does require planning, luck and patience. Please also note one of our related rules: You cannot take any support from Supporters, Public, and Stores by friendship, arrangement, bartering or coercion!
Supporters/family/friends will be able to send participants Ultra Mail™. Whilst our own internet access during the event is limited and will be first and foremost used for vital event communications, we will be glad to pass on (print and post-up/potentially courier to their tent) your well-wishes etc. as best we can. Please note this communication will not be private and is offered as a non-guaranteed service!
There is an excellent little app available for smartphones called ‘OS Locate’. This provides your location in the form of a British National Grid Reference, and we recommend that all participants have this free app download to their phone, for use in an emergency.
Hypothermia and Hyperthermia
We often have participants with heat related illness at our expedition events, and it is not uncommon for our medical team to treat hyperthermia (too hot) and hypothermia (too cold) in the same day. Please make yourself knowledgeable of these conditions and look out for your fellow participants during the race (you will be very remote, and help is likely to come from a fellow participant in the first instance), and at the Overnight Camp (look out for unwell tent buddies).
Sunday 29th May
Cape Wrath and Durness. These locations are all shown on the Event Map
- 1500 Course Closes
- 1200-1700 All participants are driven and ferried to Keodale slipway
- 1800-1900 Regroup in Durness
- 1900 Group photo above Sango Bay, immediately followed by shuttle bus service to Durness Village Hall (the shuttle bus will run back and forwards, about 2km, between the campsite and village hall all night).
- 2000 Buffet Dinner and Medal/Trophy Presentation Ceremony at Durness Community Hall. This meal has wholesome vegetarian and meat dishes, and from the same Inverness-based caterer as the Fort William Buffet Dinner, eight days earlier. This meal is provided for participants and the volunteers/event team, but we welcome other supporters to join us for the evening, both before, during and after the meal and ceremony. There will be a limited number of tickets for the buffet meal available for friends and family at £20 per person. The prize ceremony will be at approximately 2100.
- 2000-2400 Liquor and soft drinks bar
Monday 30th May
Durness and Journey back to Fort William
- 0900 Buses depart: Return transport to Fort William, via Lairg and Inverness and Great Glen; A82.
- 1130 Approx arrival at Inverness Bus/Rail Station and short break
- 1400 Approx arrival at Fort William
We would like everyone to be aware that it is still possible for someone to feel poorly on their travels home - after many days of exertion, fatigue, managing hydration and nutrition etc. Please all be aware to keep an eye on other participants and alert and gain help and advice as necessary.
Travelling with others: We understand that you may travel or drive away from Durness with others. Please ensure that you and your helpers are rested, alert and fit for driving. You should also understand that Scotland has very strict drink-driving limits, and that these are equally applicable for Monday 30th May. Be safe.
Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ Entry
This may seem a little premature, but we aware that a number of participants are interested to enter the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ in 2017, but are holding off to see how you do at the Cape Wrath Ultra™. In the meantime it looks possible that the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ will sell out, and therefore, we will save a guaranteed place at the 2017 Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ for anyone completing the Cape Wrath Ultra™ in full. We hope that settles a few anxieties!
In the meantime, please rest up, eat plenty, and we look forward to seeing you all in Fort William next Saturday.