Jura - a coastal bimble

Discussion in 'Trips Reports' started by cathyjc, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    This is my first ever trip report please forgive any short comings :oops:

    April 2013 - 7 days/6nights - Jura west coast.

    I'd been looking at the remote west coast of Jura with facination for 20yrs+ and with a weeks 'pass out' and a suitable bribe for the boy (a Kindle) - it was now, or never. Even the weather looked OK :cool:.

    So, car to Kennacraig, Ferry to Port Askaig, Ferry to Feolin and the island minibus to Ardlussa. We were left standing in the road in late afternoon sunshine, with overly heavy packs, and the feeling that this was 'it' - no going back now. Given the bunkhouse at Kinuachdrachd, and their 'taxi service (-at a cost) are not operating before the end of April, I decide the bothy at Glen Garrisdale should be tonights target. Initially the walk north is very bucolic - cattle in the fields and primroses in the hedges. Past Lealt the scenery melds into the landscape of the west - boggy, tussocky, and rough -and so does the road. About 1km after 'road end' we leave the track and plunge into 'the rough' -on an ATV track heading west.

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    I am so conscious we will not reach the bothy in daylight, and I do not want to be wallowing around in the bog, in the dark, with super heavy packs and a 12 yr old in my care o_O. 'The way' is up and down and around and about. There had been very little rain in the previous weeks and I am so grateful - this part would have been dreadful otherwise. It wasn't so easy as it was. 2/3rds of the way across I twist my ankle on a tussock. A rest, some food and head torches on, and all seems OK. The last part in the dark actually seems easier. I love night walking - the boy isn't sure but won't let on. It's late. We stuffed ourselves on a Calmac special earlier, so soup and flapjack for supper, and then bed. When I take my boots off -OUCH!. My ankle blows up like a balloon - so I did do some damage, and the boot was 'holding it all in'. I get not much sleep and a dose myself with Ibruprofen. In the morning I can hobble but carrying on with a pack would be stupid.

    Day 2. A zero day in the sun (+ a very cold wind) - Glen Garrisdale is lovely to explore and the boy finds a trophy to take home.

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    Day 3. My ankle is useable. The packs have lost 24hrs of food but still feel unwieldy. We set off south and navigate across the lumps, and bumps, and boggy bits, following deer tracks. We come down to the sea a couple of times, but most of the 'under cliff' is not navigable here. Scarba to the north, behind us.

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    At 6.30 'ish we reach our target - Corpach bay and I get the tent up ASAP. The following day we find a much better spot further down the bay :(. In the morning it's bright and cold, very cold - ice on the edges of the burn :confused:.

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    Day 4. We climb out of Corpach bay and wander south to Shian bay. Then I want to check out a couple of waterfalls inland, so we leave the coast for a while. The going is mostly very good, short dry heather and gentle slopes :). The views to the 'Paps' open up and we spot some wildlife too.

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    We've been exploring and progress has been lamentably slow. It's nearly 3 by the time we stop for lunch at Shian bay. Shian is so very lovely - I decide we are staying. We have a wander up the burn. However, there is little shelter from the very cold NE wind, and the boy hides in the back of the tent as much as he can, and I double peg the tent.

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    Day 5. Today we walk by the sea along the undercliff, exploring the caves, arches, stacks and the raised beaches that this coast is known for. The caves are huge varied and filled with dried goat dung - even so, some folks do bivvy in them :eek:. A lady-artist lived in one of them for 12 months, having supplies brought in by boat once a month:cool:. At lunch we see otter scat but no otters :(.

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    The glorious sunny weather we've had is ending and it gets increasingly gloomy. Early afternoon sees us at the estate bothy at Ruantallain. One room, broken door, 3 rusty bed frames with rotten mattresses -all decorated with vast quantities of mouse **** and NO brush :mad:. We decide to stay anyway as the weather is going off and the boy prefers not to camp. I tidy as best as I can, and we sleep on the floor. Our packs are now noticeably easier to carry :D.

    Day 6. As the morning progresses the precipitation increases :(. We follow the ATV track and head across country for Cruib bothy, as fast as we can. The going is increasingly boggy and energy sapping in the wet and rough. The ATV track just stop us from getting too lost and avoiding the worst of the bog. One fine raised beach before the camera gets put away. No views to photo.

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    We reach Cruib tired, wet and cold, to read in the bothy book that the previous inhabitants had "had a fine bbq and bonfire on the beach in the sunshine" -2 days before, and used all the wood :mad:. We are so cold. They also left their shiny clean beer cans in the fireplace for me to carry out :mad::mad:.
    Otherwise the bothy is nice, clean, tidy and very welcome - excepting the 2" gap under the door allowing a freezing cold gale under :(. This is one of the coldest bothy nights I can remember and there is snow to sea level in the morning.

    Day7. Up early, and head for the road at Tarbet. We need to hitch to Craighouse before 14.00 to catch the bus/ferry, or stay another day. It's raining as we leave, but improves as the morning goes on. Up and down, in and out, bog hopping and finally just plain bog stomping. The bridge over the river is no more, so we wade at the mud flats. An estate worker gives us 'smelly 2' a lift and we chat about island life and common aquaintances. The first person we've seen for nearly 7 days :). Au Revoir.

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    I had wanted to do Corryvrekan to Feolin, but I can try again, and this was a brilliant trip I will remember forever. Thanks to my long suffering son for tolerating my whims.

    EDIT - I did return and walk the southern/second half of the west coast of Jura.
    Trip report here - http://www.trek-lite.com/index.php?threads/jura-west-coast-part-2.697/

    And 2 years later my son and I took 8 days to walk the whole 'lot' - but I've never written that up :oops:.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
    Daymoth, Teepee, Arne L. and 14 others like this.
  2. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    Some nice pics, looks like some interesting locations to explore, will have to go there sometime.
  3. murpharoo

    murpharoo Section Hiker

    Thanks for that Cathy. I enjoyed it and gives me hope that I can get my little girl out in the wilds in due course. Bit much for a 3 year old I guess :rolleyes:
  4. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Thru Hiker

    Great pics and report. :)

    (my silly browser is doing something odd to the formatting.)
  5. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    A few extraneous formatting characters I think... in the report not your browser.
    Worthwhile, not worthless :p
  6. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    OK , how do I get rid of the formatting bits ?? The pics were resized on Photobucket and inserted using URL and the 'insert photo icon' on forum tool bar.
  7. EM - Ross

    EM - Ross Thru Hiker

    Thanks. Inspiratational! Must visit. Time to get the maps out.

    You don't need to use the forum button if you use the photobucket links hence you getting the extra bbcode markup showing.

    Why not use the upload option here? If anything happens to your photobucket account the pics here will be lost.
  8. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    fantastic Cathy.
  9. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Great trip, thanks for sharing. :)
  10. Hedley Heap

    Hedley Heap Section Hiker

    Thanks, nice trip report of a cracking area IMHO.
    I can't get my kids to backpack. Apparently childline have a dedicated unit to deal parents who take (over night) their daughters more than 100 yards away from hair driers, straighteners, WIFI, mirrors and fashion retail oulets. Anyway I couldn't carry all their "essentials" even with my old school 70/100 rucksack.
    Enjoy the time before reluctance becomes "NO".
    Thanks again. :)
    el manana likes this.
  11. rorymax

    rorymax Section Hiker

    I enjoyed your pics and trip report Cathy, thanks for posting.
  12. Beamo

    Beamo Summit Camper

    Great trip report, looks like a really good area to explore.
    With me it's WiFi, the grandkids simply can't survive if their gadgets can't function.
  13. Big Si

    Big Si Trail Blazer

    Nice report and loved the pictures!

    Si
  14. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Thanks for all the wonderfull comments :)

    Ross - I resized the photos several months ago on Photobucket before I realised the 'upload a file' botton would be a better option. I'll be using that method in future ;).

    Headley and Beamo - we've never let our kids have much in the way of electronic widgets (-cruel parents ;)) - means they don't miss them when out :D. They have been bothying/camping regularly since they were about 5, and have always been expected to carry some of their stuff -as appropriate for their ability. They now take a pride in carrying their share. They are firmly told that outdoors stuff is 'what our family does' and they can lump it or like it. When they are 18 can do what they like, but until then family rules apply :). My daughter was reluctant until about 14 when she actually admitted she loved it, and now plans on a life within easy reach of the mountains :cool:.
  15. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    Very nice, thanks for sharing Cathy

    I've watched Jura disappear into a sunset from many a west coast beach whilst on canoe trips, never stepped foot on there yet though.
  16. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Shewie, I know sea kayakers do canoe/camp this coast too. You'd need to be sure of your 'abilities' as the west is very vulnerable to the weather and there's not much shelter. From the sea you'd have access to some otherwise innaccesible bits - but less options to 'explore' :).
  17. Gazelle

    Gazelle Ultralighter

    Great report Cathy! Look forward to seeing more.
  18. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Hopefully another visit leaving mid April 2015 - company welcome :D
  19. Hedley Heap

    Hedley Heap Section Hiker

    Don't get me wrong, my kids camp a lot and spend plenty of time outdoors canoeing, horse riding etc. They just like their creature comforts at the end of the day.
    And to be totally honest, backpacking is my thing, they can find their own way.
    Like people who complain about their partners not wanting to venture into the hills, I'm pleased my missus wouldn't backpack with me, it's my escape!
  20. Lady Grey

    Lady Grey Thru Hiker

    Enjoyed that Cathy. It's great to see your lad having a good time. Let's hope he keeps enjoying the outdoors. He's obviously undergone a pretty good initiation into it.
    Jura' s been on the, to-do list for awhile and too far away.
  21. EM - Ross

    EM - Ross Thru Hiker

    Rules. Been there & got that t-shirt. Got into the hills despite my parents but thankful they were happy to let me wonder off from an early age!

    My lads not much into it either & doesn't bother me a jot. He can whop my ass on the mountain bike big time - that his thing. We're already laying plans for camping weekends away - bike one day - on foot the next.
  22. Lady Grey

    Lady Grey Thru Hiker

    NOT too far away, should have read.....
    Too busy dreaming about up and coming trip and some Winter sun and warmth.
  23. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    We've had quite a few interesting outings in the canoes, the mouth of Loch Goil is always a swine to get past, some really weird currents around there. Hanging onto seaweed covered rocks in 6ft waves and swell up Loch Sween was another good one, the trickiest moments have been when we've made for an island and the weather comes in, I've had a few Sunday afternoons when getting back to our cars was looking doubtful
    Big Si likes this.
  24. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Thru Hiker

    14 is a wonderful age to discover you like hiking. :) Its the age I was when I first did an overnight hike, and camped next to a small pond under my favourite mountain (Mt Coree). Wonderful memories. Fantastic that your daughter has fallen for the hills. :)
  25. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    - sorry didn'y mean to lecture :oops:. I see too many families where the kids 'rule the roost'. I also like getting out without my hubby - my escape too - but now also I'm prepared to go further/longer/'less comforts' than he is :cool:.

    I think my daughters conversion was DoE expeditions, with her own peer group - having fun, finding it 'easy', realising Mum wasn't quite as un-cool as she thought. :D

    Both kids can now 'out walk' me, when motivated :oops:.

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