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Five Degree West Challenge

Argyll and Bute, Highland

354 km / 220 miles
The five degree west line of longitude runs from the southern tip of the Cowal Peninsula to Cape Wrath and traverses some of the finest walking terrain in Scotland. This very challenging route attempts to follow the five degree line as closely as possible from south to north; deviation has to be minimised and the line must be contacted at least once every day of the walk. A specific route is outlined - that of the author in 2004 - but this can be varied and there is some scope to follow the line even more closely.

This challenge is only for very strong and experienced walkers and requires navigational expertise. It includes over 60,000ft of ascent. Pre-planning will be needed to define the route in detail. Although there are a number of barriers encountered on the route, forests and lochs being the principal among these, the line can be followed surprisingly closely. The route leads through very remote country and for the majority of the trip food and camping gear have to be carried. Substantial sections are untracked. Many mountain passes, ridges and summits have to be traversed, rivers have to be forded and peat bogs threaded. There is some walking on roads, mostly minor roads, but this is a small proportion of the route.

The challenge can be completed in about thirty days of walking, ideally in one continuous expedition. The route is outlined on the website in three sections, each of which can be completed in a fortnight, allowing time to get to and from the starting and finishing points. The suggested end point of each day’s walk has been chosen to provide camping possibilities and occasionally b&b or hotel accommodation and there are useful hints on the website. Details of a Five Degree West Challenge 'Roll of Honour' for completers are also on the website.


Path Type: Anytime Challenges
Attributes: Anytime Challenges
Very Challenging
Start: NS124676 - 2km west of Toward, Cowal Peninsula, Argyll and Bute View on StreetMap
Finish: NC258747 - Cape Wrath, Highland View on StreetMap
Open Date: 2004
Web Sites: Five Degree Challenge UK Government - Access to military areas: Cape Wrath


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Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2016.
© OpenStreetMap contributors under Open Database Licence.
Rights of way data from selected Local Authorities.
Large scale digital mapping is provided by John Thorn.
At high zoom levels the route is indicative only.
Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger 9, 15, 20, 25, 34, 41, 50, 56, 63
OS Landranger Active 9, 15, 20, 25, 34, 41, 50, 56, 63
OS Explorer 37, 39, 360, 362, 377, 384, 392, 399, 400, 414, 415, 430, 436, 439, 442, 445, 446
OS Explorer Active 37, 39, 360, 362, 377, 384, 392, 399, 400, 414, 415, 430, 436, 439, 442, 445, 446

Accommodation within 5 km of this Path:

Hostel Accommodation
2 km
54 km
Hostel Accommodation
4 km
112 km
Walkers are Welcome
< 1 km
115 km
Hostel Accommodation
4 km
124 km
Hostel Accommodation
3 km
142 km
Bunk House
5 km
234 km
Bunk House
1 km
263 km
Hostel Accommodation
< 1 km
304 km

Click to show 5 more Accommodations

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Route Profile:

466.0 km (289.6 miles)
19,307 m (63,343 ft) ascent
1,165 m (3,822 ft)  maximum height

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