A wilderness Christmas?

by backpackingbongos

Once again I am playing the, “Whats the weather going to do next week?” game.  I have a major plan in place for the period between Christmas and New Year.  Late last autumn I fell in love with the wild west Coast of Jura and I have spent a lot of time since then dreaming of returning.  Much of this has been down to Pete’s numerous posts about the Island on his blog ‘Writes of way‘.

I am planning on doing the hefty drive up to kennacraig on the Kintyre peninsula where I will get an early morning ferry to Islay.  A drive across the island to Port Askaig where a tiny ferry will take me across the Sound of Islay to Jura.  I will then take the single track rollercoaster road to the north part of the Island where I hopefully should be able to park up almost exactly 24 hours after leaving home.

The main A846 across the island!

My rucksack will then be hoisted onto my back for a 5 to 7 hour walk across some of the roughest, boggiest terrain imaginable to a rather splendid coastal bothy.  Three days to watch the wildlife, walk to isolated sandy beaches, explore caves and rock arches.  Then long old nights to listen to the waves breaking on the shore whilst attempting to burn driftwood and reading trashy novels.

My idea of heaven!

However will the weather let this happen?  Firstly a snow free journey up north is pretty much essential, so no snow between Nottingham and the Clyde please in the next few days.  Then I would prefer the weather to be kind (ish) whilst on Jura as I don’t think I could cope with the very short days whilst being lashed by an Atlantic storm.

Decision time on Friday I think, I will then book the ferry.  Fingers crossed that this time next week I will be amongst this scenery.

Heavy snow is forecast for Nottingham tonight…………………………..


13 Comments to “A wilderness Christmas?”

  1. heres hoping!

    have a great crimbo James

  2. Hope you make it.

    I’ll be heading south from Edinburgh in a few days and it looks like the weather is worse down south. If I were you I’d keep checking the traffic scotland live cams: http://trafficscotland.org/lev/

  3. James if I do not get a chance before, have a great Christmas and best wishes to you and your family for the New Year. Hopefully, we’l get a chance to hook up with some others for a bit of a jaunt in Snowdonia or the Lakes in 2011. Have a good one mate.

  4. James
    See how much easier this would be with a bike in the back of the Bongo. You would just camp in the van at Kennacraig and then roll onboard. Pedal across Islay and Jura even with the stuff on your back and catch the two ferrys at foot passenger rates. I will not rest until I see a bike rack on the back of that Bongo. Have a great Christmas where ever you are.

  5. Hey Bongos
    Thanks for your words over the past year- they have made the desk bound life better..
    They have inspired and they have been truthfull – it aint all pretty,
    I vote you as the best blog of 2010.
    If I ever bump into you on t’hill or apre t’hill the pints are on me.
    HAppy Christmas and many happy days in the hills in 011

  6. Sounds good James, with any luck it should be firmer (and drier) underfoot given the low temperatures, that’s what I’ve found on the similarly boggy Antrim hills. At least you have plenty of ground clearance and 4WD on the Bongo.

    Have a good trip, look forward to the report.


  7. Sound wonderful. Have a great Christmas.

  8. Jame’s, I really hope you can do the trip. I’m not able to get away now until February, so it would be great to enjoy a vicarious visit to Jura through your eyes and ears. The ‘coastline’ route from west of Cruib Lodge to Ruantallain (following the route in the book in reverse) is really worth doing – on your way in, out or both – as it’s a fantastic landscape of raised and sandy beaches, basalt dikes and caves. Good wildlife spotting opportunities too. A little challenging in places, but nothing untoward. I look forward to the post entitled ‘I’m off!’

    Cheers, have a good crimbo.

  9. Dave, have a great Christmas yourself.

    Chris cheers for the link, we had a bit of snow down here in the Midlands yesterday, seems ok now. Have a safe journey down south and a good Christmas.

    Maz, I am looking forward to the jaunt next year it should be a good one. Enjoy whatever you do over the Xmas period.

    Warren I know that I should be getting myself a bike. It would be a great way of getting fit for the TGO challenge in May and also a way of saving money on those pricey Calmac ferries.

    Thank you for your kind words Fred, they mean alot. Maybe I will bump into you on the hills next year, I will gladly accept that pint. Have one on me over the Xmas period.

    Fingers crossed that the terrain is nicely firm and frozen Richard, I will look over the sea and give you a wave if you are on the hills. Hopefully the brick on wheels that is the Bongo will make it ok!

    Cheers Martin and see you on the 15th.

    I am looking forward to it Pete although as I write this I am at home and off work with a real nasty bug. Lets hope that it clears in the next couple of days and that I can get away. How I am feeling at the moment just wandering down to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee is a major expedition. It’s a bit of a bummer to be honest. I nearly always get a bug the week before Xmas!

  10. Boo! Hope you’re feeling better very soon. Dr Pete recommends an infusion of grated ginger (lots of), lemon juice (lots of) and honey (lots of). Alcohol of choice is an option (from a hint to anaesthetic quantities as preferred). It may not actually do much, but I like to pretend and it is very enjoyable and soothing.

  11. At first I thought this post was a ‘wishful thinking’ thing, but you’re serious!. The roads are bad enough down here on the plains. Anyway they might improve next week, I hope you can conquer the bug and make it happen – I’m not as brave as that.
    All the best for Xmas and New Year.

  12. Sounds fantastic! Keeping my fingers crossed for you. Have a goodun!

  13. Pete I am out of bed today so here is to keeping fingers crossed. All being well I will buy my tickets online on Boxing day.

    Geoff I think that it was wishful thinking wanting good weather on Jura in the middle of winter! It has been something I have had planned for a while now. Lets see if this bug goes and the roads improve. Have a great Xmas.

    Cheers Dave.

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