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Musician, comedian and Strictly star Bill Bailey celebrates completing arduous Cape Wrath Trail with cheese and pickle sandwich and cup of tea at lighthouse cafe

By Mike Merritt

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He was the oldest winner of Strictly Come Dancing.

Now comedian Bill Bailey has walked hundreds of miles to complete Britain's hardest and remotest trail in an "emotional" tribute to his late father-in-law.

Bill Bailey.
Bill Bailey.

He reached the end of the trail on Sunday at mainland UK's remotest cafe and celebrated with a cheese and pickle sandwich and a cup of tea!

He was then driven down the Cape Wrath road, which goes through a bombing range and which made headlines recently for having some of the deepest potholes in the country.

The Cape Wrath Trail, which starts in Fort William, runs through arguably the most spectacular, and lonely, scenery in Scotland. It is mostly unmarked and there is no officially-sanctioned route.

But it is so tough that less than a third of the 172 ultra runners who set off recently on a near 249-mile long trek to mainland Britain's most north westerly point finished it. The winner Danny Smith took just under fifty-and-a-half hours.

Mr Bailey, 59, managed it in around three weeks.

He said in a moving video message: "This is just a spectacularly beautiful place, amazing scenery and the mountains around here are just monumental.

“In fact the whole trip has been just a wonderful kind of journey through all these huge landscapes.

“And you get a sense of real solitude and tranquillity as well that you don't often get in modern life really.”

He added: "This part of Scotland is actually quite remote.....the average population density is one person per square kilometre, so sometimes we walk all day and we don't see anyone."

He said the celebration at Cape Wrath would be "emotional".

Mr Bailey thanked all those who had helped and encouraged him and admitted the walk was "tough" and there were "some sore feet and aching limbs”.

He wrote on his Facebook page: "This is not for any TV programme or series, we are doing this for ourselves, me personally to honour the memory of my late father in law, Peter Brunt - a great man who loved hiking and would have loved this trip.

“It’s a challenge no doubt - the most remote and toughest hike in Britain. It’s a test of our mettle, it’s hard but it’s rewarding and any worries, any troublesome thoughts get ironed out by the majestic wildness.

“As the great writer and traveller Patrick Leigh Fermor said:, ‘Solvitur ambulando’ - it is solved by walking.”

Mr Bailey added:"Thanks to all the excellent folk in hostels, b&b’s, hotels, campsites and bothies who’ve made us welcome & encouraged us on our way!"

At Cape Wrath Lighthouse, more than 300 feet above sea level, he had a sandwich and tea served at the lighthouse cafe run by John Ure and his daughter Angela. In winter they can go weeks without seeing any hikers

Angela said: "He was such a nice man and celebrated his achievement with a cheese and pickle sandwich and a cup of tea. It is some achievement and he was certainly fit enough for it."

Mr Bailey was then driven 11 miles down what is said to be Britain's deepest potholed road by mini bus driver Stuart Ross, who can't carry a full load in his 16 seater vehicle because of waist deep potholes.

Mr Bailey is known for his regular appearances on the panel shows Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Have I Got News for You, and QI, as well as for his stand-up comedy work. He plays a variety of musical instruments and incorporates music into his performances.

He won the 18th series of the televised BBC dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing with his professional partner Oti Mabuse. At 55, he was the oldest winner in the show's history.

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