A ferry into the wilderness

by backpackingbongos

I finally made up my mind of where to go at the end of October and booked a ferry to Islay.  One thing about travelling to the Scotish Islands is that it is not cheap, Cal Mac really does have the monopoly.  I am only taking the van a few miles across water and it is costing me £108 return, now that is a rip off.

So it looks like a two day backpack on Islay before driving across the Island and jumping on another ferry to wild Jura.  A day walk on the Paps before travelling to the north of the Island for an exceptionally wild and remote 3 day backpack.  I looked at the uninhabited west coast of Jura on Geograph last night and it gave me goose bumps.

Hopefully there will be an Indian summer and if deserted I can walk in my pants again…………………


11 Comments to “A ferry into the wilderness”

  1. Enjoy Islay. I loved it on my two recent visits. Lovely coastal scenery NE of Gruinart. Flowery pastures, limestone and caves. Don’t know if the Port Charlotte campsite will be open at the end of October, but it’s a great site and a good place to clean up after a night or two in the wilds. Islay is also excellent for bicycles if the wind isn’t too strong.

    Best wishes.

  2. Its good to hear positive things about Islay. Thanks for the tips I will have to get out my map and check the places you mention out.

  3. I’ve started visiting the islands recently so got myself a trailer for my push bike which does save significantly on ferry fares as the bike goes for free. One problem is I can’t take the trailer on the trains which kind of upset my original plans for visiting the western isles last year.

  4. That sounds like a nice way to travel around the Islands. I do need to get myself a bike, have always fancied backpacking with a trailer. Would make short work of those landrover tracks up long Glens. What Islands have you visited and what did you think of them?

    • James, last year I went to Mull in December (stayed in a cottage). Really enjoyed it, good combination of hills and coastal scenary – short days but no midges! My first trip with the Bike and Trailer was to Harris August also last year, cycled down from Stornoway. Very hilly but great scenary and superb beaches, nice camping on the Machair. Had hoped to do the southern end of the western Isles this year but will till next year now.


      Just come back from Orkney, ideal cycling country. Superb cliffs along the north coast, loads of wild life and plenty of historic interest. Only managed the mainland and Hoy so still plenty of island to discover.

      Lots of Island I want to visit – The Rum Cuillin look interesting!
      Islay would be great, a superb distillary tour!
      The Paps of Jura such provide for a wild experience.
      Hope you enjoy.

  5. not the underpants again!

    in all seriousness though, the trip sounds really nice. I am already looking forward to the report and photos as its the kind of place I could see myself visiting at some point

  6. I have feeling that It may be too windy on the Islands to be comfortable in the underpants! Looking forward to being somewhere really wild and remote.

  7. Paul your photos of Harris are absolutely stunning – the beaches look out of this world. Very similar to those I saw in Connemara on the west coast of Ireland. We nearly went to the Western Isle last year but ended up in Applecross and Raasay instead (both stunning by the way).

    I cant wait to get onto the Islands now! I just wish I lived a bit closer!

  8. I’ve visited during the week before the clocks go back for the last two years (and will do so again this year). In 2007 we had a few really nice sunny and mild days where at a push you could have survived in shorts, in 2008 on the other hand we had a storm for almost the whole week. Let’s see what this year will bring…

  9. Sounds wonderful, never been to Islay or Jura except in spirit when enjoying those so-named tipples!.
    Taking a vehicle on the ferry makes a huge difference then, on our one visit to Arran on foot we were surprised how cheap it was: 9.40 return.

  10. Armin I hope that we will both be blessed with the weather this year (although asking for two whole weeks on sunshine may be asking a bit much). I have been to the highlands at that time of year in 2007 and it was really warm. I dont fancy a storm!

    Geoff I may have to bring a couple of bottles of that tipple home with me! Taking a vehicle onto the Islands really does cost a lot more than going by foot. I thought about going as a foot passenger but really wanted the luxury of a camper van just in case the weather is bad.

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