A Pappy day on Jura
by denfinella » Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:55 pm
Route description: The Paps of Jura
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn an Oir
Grahams included on this walk: Beinn a'Chaolais, Beinn Shiantaidh
Date walked: 12/07/2016
Time taken: 9.5 hours
Distance: 17 km
Ascent: 1400m9 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Setting off from the parking layby shortly after 8, the sky looked promising, with increasing amounts of blue sky above the Corran River. Although very boggy in places, the path up the shallow glen was mostly clear and often gave reasonably good going. Coming over a small crest the trio of Paps were visible together for the first time today. Beinn Shiantaidh in the foreground was free of cloud, although the summits of the other two were still stubbornly hidden away. But only just...
Somehow we made it to Loch an t-Siob' with dry feet. Even better, the stepping stones over the Corran River were the type that were easily negotiated - without them it would be a tricky river to cross.
Beyond the loch, the ascent to the north was drier underfoot but soon pathless. Clouds were speeding in from the west, but Beinn a' Chaolais (summit no. 3) was now free of cloud. A slowly rising path traversed the south-eastern slopes of Beinn Shiantaidh with excellent views, before an abrupt turn uphill was needed as the path fizzled out. Waterproofs on as the first spots of rain arrived.
Disappointingly after the earlier sunshine, the views from the summit were patchy at best:
On descent, the mist made it look like we were about to step off the ridge into nothingness. Soon we emerged back under the cloud base though, with tantalising views across to the east face of Beinn an Oir:
As the ridge narrowed it briefly became very windy before we cut to the right to find the gully mentioned on the walkhighlands description.
We found the gully without any problems, but actually descending it wasn't quite so straightforward. Loose, wet rocks and soil made getting to the base trickier than the photo below suggests - hands definitely needed.
From the base of the gully there were great views across Jura's wild northern parts. It was sunny far away over there:
Meanwhile Beinn an Oir was still cloud-covered, but the ascent route (rising diagonally from left to right) was clear.
Before that we still had a surprisingly long descent to the bealach. The "shower", which had turned out to be quite a serious one, had gradually been getting heavier on the descent and we waited far too long to put on waterproof trousers. We ended up doing it on an exposed rock with heavy horizontal rain pouring down, having to take boots off in the process... not the best-timed decision! Behind us, Beinn Shiantaidh was laughing at us, improbably now cloud-free.
Predictably enough the rain eased off as soon as trousers were on and we began ascending Beinn an Oir. Here we met the only other walkers all day, who were planning just to climb two of the Paps as they had a ferry to catch from Islay back to the mainland. Views from the ascent were excellent, showing the surrounding lower hills bathed in sunshine...
Failing to spot the ruined buildings as our cue to turn left, we carried on traversing north until reaching the north-east ridge. The lower parts of this looked particularly fine:
Further up the ridge we did manage to spot some of the ruined Ordnance Survey buildings:
From here the OS had even constructed a path to the summit cairn, where we had a lunch break. A few moments of fleeting blueness directly overhead, but mostly it was more like this:
The descent from Beinn an Oir was entertaining, although the scree probably shaved a few years off the life expectancy of our boots. First, views from the south ridge down a long gully:
The ridge narrowed before a straightforward descent off the side of it, then a great rollercoaster ridge all the way down to the next bealach, with some long scree runs to slide down. Down the ridge to a (nearly) cloud-free Beinn a' Chaolais:
Looking back up the scree:
Beinn a' Chaolais beckoning:
View towards Islay:
From the bealach, views towards Loch an t-Siob' reminded us that we had a ferry to catch.
Just enough time for one more though?
by denfinella » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:15 pm
...while predictably, it lowered overhead to graze the summit of Beinn a' Chaolais!
So no views from the summits today. But plenty of views of them, just not while we were on them! On the way down I had a brief onset of cramp, making it impossible to walk for a few minutes. Fortunately it passed and the rest of the descent was straightforward. There were still a couple of pathless kilometres to go though until the far end of the loch, and time was a bit tight.
Happily this stretch was mostly good underfoot, with wonderful views of all three Paps:
Part way down I came within a few inches of stepping right on top of a huge adder, which I only saw when my partner pointed it out just behind me. The adder didn't move until the camera came out, at which point it hissed loudly and slid away at an impressive speed:
Just before the loch there was one last barrier to progress in the form of an annoying deep creek, with an annoying detour away from the water's edge to find a crossing point. Once down at the loch:
Back at the loch outflow we were back on familiar ground, just leaving the boggy descent back to the car. For the last few hundred metres we detoured to the left to avoid the last boggy stretch, finding a drier (but strangely smelly) path alongside the Corran River.
In the end we had about 45 mins to spare en route to the ferry back to Islay, leaving plenty of time to stop off and enjoy the various car-side views from the coastal road. Despite some heavy rain showers and pesky cloud, the weather didn't really detract from a wonderful day, with plenty of views in the sunny periods! And a good contrast to all those Islay distilleries...
Islay & Jura 2016
<< Sunday afternoon: Dun a'Choin Dhuibh, Knapdale
>> Wednesday lunchtime: Machir Bay, Islay
by Cairngorm creeper » Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:31 pm
by denfinella » Sat Sep 10, 2016 6:28 pm
by goth_angel » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:38 pm
by John Doh » Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:15 pm