Four days and not a soul in sight

by backpackingbongos

There are not many places left in the UK where you can walk for four days amongst jaw dropping scenery and not see another person.  Once we left the single track road we had the hills, coast and bothies of Jura all to ourselves.  The reason for this became apparent as we made our way down the west coast, the going can only be described as ‘character building’.  The weather threw pretty much everything our way.  I have an overriding memory of walking directly into the teeth of a gale with heavy rain being blown into my face.  There was nothing I could do to prevent that cold trickle of water running down my chest!

I will do a write-up later in the week.  In the meantime the photo below was taken from just outside Ruantallain bothy, possibly now my favourite spot on earth.  Twenty four hours of constant wind and rain was beginning to clear just as the sun was setting behind the northern tip of Islay.

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23 Comments to “Four days and not a soul in sight”

  1. I take it that was Sunday, pretty nasty down in Wales that day as well. Stunning photo, lloking forward to the full story

    • Yep it was the Sunday Andy. The wind and the rain came in on the Saturday afternoon and lasted until Sunday evening. Shame as we spent Sat night wild camped on a really lovely beach.

  2. That looks superb, James. So Jura is more isolated/ wild than Skye?

    • Hi Hendrik. The landscape on Skye is much more impressive with huge jagged mountains, the wildness on Jura is much more subtle. However I would say that Jura is much more isolated and has a lot less visitors. To get there involves a two hour ferry to Islay from the mainland and then another small ferry. The road to the end of the island is only 25 miles long but is little more than a pot holed track in places, takes an hour. Almost no traffic. On two visits to Jura I have not seen another human being once off the road. To get to Skye just involves a two minute drive across a bridge and loads of tourists / hikers / climbers.

      • Thank you James. Will need to ponder that then, as getting there easily (Skye) could make it more attractive than Jura, seeing that I’d need to travel by Public Transport and such =)

  3. lovely shot, looking fwd to the rest

  4. Ruantallain already is my favourite spot on earth and you’ll understand why. Although the WCJ makes for a ‘character building’ walk, I believe there’s an excellent, detailed guidebook out there…

    I really am looking forward to reading your post and looking at your pics, JB.

    • It’s a deeply lovely spot Pete, I now get why you have visited so often. An amazing location by the sea with a great view towards the Paps. Walking out to the road the next day made us appreciate just how isolated it is – 7 hours of bog………..

      I do wish we had taken a copy of that guidebook with us!

  5. The photo looks fabulous – and even wild weather can be fun sometimes!

  6. Wild and rugged scenery. Look forward to the report. Will there be anymore disturbing photos inside a bothy or were you camping out?

    • Luckily there are no more disturbing photos Mark. We had a couple of nights in a bothy and the rest were camping out.

  7. I believe thats the bothy where a million quid went up the chimney and there were tenners strewn all over the hillsides. We were told not to bother looking for any as the locals had had them all.
    Jura’s West Coast is a huge undertaking – an expedition with occasional support by boat would be an interesting proposition.

  8. Tried cycling up said pot holed track once and gave up in weather pretty much like you had, camped on lawn of Jura hotel then spent a good night in the bar, there was a couple in the bar that had just walked the WCJ and had 5 dry days, luck of the draw I guess, did you complete then ?

    • Hi Simon. We completed our planned walk which did not involve the whole of the west coast, that would have been far too much for 4 days! The Jura Hotel is a nice place to spend the night, I enjoyed it on my visit 3 years ago.

  9. I took a couple of friends to Jura as part of a whisky/Orwell jaunt. That limited experience gave me a taster of how difficult biking and backpacking might be as the weather was challenging to say the least. Look forward to hearing more…

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