It’s regarded as the hardest hike in Britain, thanks to its unsigned trails, often-vile weather and total remoteness. So how did solo walker Luke Waterson fare on Scotland’s Cape Wrath Trail?

If the otherworldly place names and landscapes along Scotland’s Cape Wrath Trail conjure scenes from Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, that is apt: It was holidaying in Wester Ross that sparked George R. R. Martin’s imagination into creating the fantasy world of Westeros, while gazing out at the Small Isles supposedly gave Tolkien inspiration for the Mountains of Mordor.

This 200-mile, two-to-three-week tramp up the rugged northwest edge of the Highlands whets hard-core adventurers’ appetites. Morar, Knoydart, Assynt … the nation’s most grueling trail passes places so remote, many are known simply as wildernesses—because there are no settlements worth noting within them.

Traversing such emptiness, this hike claims numerous superlatives: Britain’s remotest village, highest waterfall, remotest beach and highest mainland sea cliffs, Europe’s oldest geological formations. But while all these held allure, my main motivation for taking on this trek was absence. Roads do not peter out up here—they scarcely exist anyway. The trail is not uncrowded—it is almost utterly unpeopled. And absence makes the heart grow fonder. If one wished to truly escape within Great Britain, this would be it.