North Jura – Corrievreckan and a few hills. June 2014.

Date: Saturday –Monday 31st May-2nd June
Distance: 13.6 + 12.5 + 7.2 km
Ascent: 440 + 760 + 530m

Summer holiday time – prefaced by a fortnight seeing an idiot rubbernecker driving straight into my car and various stresses with the pond life that inhabits the world of car rental companies.

A relief to be on the 0700 ferry at Kennacraig on a flat calm morning sailing to Islay.

The plan was to have a few days on Islay and Jura, a mix of camp and cover. We headed from Port Ellen to Port Askaig, pausing in the Co-op for supplies meant we missed the car crash in the ferry traffic ahead of us.

Straight onto the Jura ferry and away. Last time we visited these islands we saw very little of the hills, so it was a distinct pleasure to have a view of the Paps on this occasion.

This time round it was the north tip of Jura, the Corryvreckan and some of the NW coast that was interesting us. Drove round the Jura road network to the road end at NR 669 927.

Headed off at 1230 on a pretty hot day with the camping packs. The signage proudly proclaimed that it was 1984 miles to Barnhill. 😉

Saw a Beautiful Demoiselle – too flighty to photograph but the first time I’ve seen one.

It’s an easy enough amble up the road no real rush for us given the long days. Interesting wildlife including fritillaries, reed buntings and redpolls.

Once past Kinuachdrachd the road becomes a path, muddy in places. Still a rather nice day as Scarba comes into view.

Eventually we found a spot for lunch above the Corryvreckan at about NM 697 011. The tide was flowing and the whirlpool spot showing a bit of activity. A couple of boats were around the whirlpool.

We were aiming for the NW tip across from Eilen Beag but we needed to pick up some water first so we headed over An Cruachan and down the stream into Bagh Gleann nam Muc. Rather rough terrain for walking with a fairly active tick population.

3 sailing boats were moored in the harbour – there are easier ways to get to these places. Picked up our few litres of water and headed round to our planned campsite.

Found a very nice flat spot at NM 688 011 – just on the edge of the rocks. The pools were full of tadpoles, reassuring that the tide was not going to surprise us.

Quite nice to grab a seat, enough of a breeze to keep the midge off.

Malcolm’s Point on Mull looked rather nice.

A bit of low sun lit the shore – rough looking stuff.

Me on the rocks – top of the tent just left and behind me.

And so to bed. Some interesting sounds overnight including a rather unexpected male Tawny owl and something splashing through the pool near the tent (probably an otter).

A bit of a grey morning. However the force of the tide running round the point was a rather inspiring alarm clock. A couple of the sailing boats nipped into the current to speed past as we had breakfast.

Nipped back round to Bagh nam Muc.

Nearly stood on a newly hatched oystercatcher on our way up the beach.

Decision time – whether to work round the rough coast or mix in a bit of high ground. Decided on the latter and headed uphill and inland over Maol nan Damh and Beinn Bhiorgaig towards Cruach na Seilcheig. Tough underfoot terrain meant slow progress.

The weather was dry and the cloud base about 500m so views were present N to Scarba. Sat at the trig point and had some lunch.

The map seemed to indicate that the west top was higher, wandered over to it.

Nice view down the coast.

Skirted the south of Sgorr Mor to follow Allt Loch na Conaire down to Bagh Uamh nan Giall. Took the time down here to have a wash and freshen up.

A nice natural arch in the bay.

Followed the coast for a bit – the goats and deer have formed paths in the bracken so it was easy enough to wander here.

Reached Bagh Feith a Chaorrainn fairly easily.

A few seals here.

Getting over to Gleann Garrisdale involved an ascent over the higher ground.

On the descent noted a pair of wheatears making a very agitated alarm sound. Wasn’t surprised to spot a stoat amongst the rocks. It watched us from a rocky gap (fuzzily visible).

Had a brief nosey into Garrisdale Bothy – the bothy book is replete with visits by kayakers.

Headed on over into Bagh Gleann Speireig – a more likely otter haunt. Pitched the tent on the patch of green advertised by geography.

Again a nice breeze, sat with the tent door open and were rewarded before dusk with a fairly brief otter sighting in the bay.

Awoke to the largest black slug attack I’ve yet seen while camping – including the old favourite of a slug in the boot.

Cooked up breakfast prior to striking the pitch in midge nets.

The rain held off until we were leaving but set in a bit thereafter.

Headed back for the car across Ben Garrisdale, up Gleann Speirig a bit then turning uphill. Overflown by a distinctly ghostly male hen harrier.

A few blinks of sun on the ascent.

….but a bit claggy at the trig point. Headed across to the highest point.

From here we headed over to Carn nan Gillean (blessedly lacking a “true” summit) and had some lunch. A few glimpses of views form here and a chance to dry out a bit.

Head of Loch Sween over Tayvallich.

A decent ATV track leads back to the road where we picked our car up and headed S to Craighouse. A chance to stay in the Jura Hotel was one that lived up to expectations.

A few beers and a nice meal and ready for another wander on the Jura hills the following day.

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