Hiker's heartbreak at 16-mile walk for the bus home after trekking the length of Scotland 5 months ago

Hiker's heartbreak at 16-mile walk for the bus home after trekking the length of Scotland

He reached the finish where he was meant to catch a ferry - which he found out had been cancelled.

A hiker has described his pain at reaching the end of a record-breaking walk across Scotland, only to then discover he had to walk another 16 miles to catch a bus home.


Matt Girvan had just smashed the record for hiking the Scottish National Trail, and had planned to catch a ferry from the finish line at Cape Wrath to Durness. However when he arrived he found out the ferry had been cancelled, so he had to walk back along 16 miles of the route to catch a bus.

Girvan had walked the 537 mile trail from Kirk Yetholm near the English border to Cape Wrath in the north of Scotland, and did it in a record-breaking time of 13 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes. This was more than three days quicker than the previous attempt.

Despite swollen feet, "lancing blisters" and "crippling pain" he then had to retrace his route to get the bus home, describing it as an "almost unbearable" moment.

He told the BBC: "I had been pounding along 40 miles a day for two weeks, lancing blisters and in crippling pain to reach the finish line - so to find out the ferry was cancelled was almost unbearable.

"I was in agony from the throbbing pain in my feet and I felt desperate.

"The time I had spent on my feet had caused them to swell from all the blood rushing to them and they had been so wet I had the onset of trench foot."

He had to walk to Kinlochbervie to catch a bus back to Edinburgh.

The last leg of his hike was so remote that there were no paths.

"The terrain up there was pretty terrible. It was the worst stuff, rolling pathless bogs," he said.

"I didn't know if my feet could take it but I knew I had to get to the town where the bus stop was."

Girvan completed the hike in September last year, an idea he came up with during the first lockdown. He recorded his expedition and later edited this into a 20-minute film which has now won the best solo film award at the New Zealand Mountain Festival.