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Jura! Jura! Jura!

Jura! Jura! Jura!

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:48 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn an Òir, Ben Donich

Fionas included on this walk: Beinn a' Chaolais, Beinn Shiantaidh

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Cnoc Reamhar, Corra Bheinn (Jura)

Date walked: 15/09/2019

Distance: 45.4 km

Ascent: 3018m

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It had to be done...Beinn an Oir on Jura presented itself as an awkward Corbett simply because of the hassle factor in getting there. A weekend with only one Corbett done (for me) but nevertheless a nice wee trip to an island I'd like to get to know more intimately. We'd decided to climb the Paps from the east this time, so only had a couple of weekends before the Jura Passenger Ferry stops running for the year. There are only two sailings a day which meant that we wouldn't be able to get there for the 6pm boat on Thursday - there seemed little point trying to get the 10am boat on Friday as we were walking up to the start of the route, which is maybe an hour in itself, so we decided to take a leisurely drive up on Friday, knock off a hill or two en route and get the Friday evening boat over, returning on Sunday night (either no Sunday morning boat or it was fully booked).

I collected Allison at 8am and we headed up to the Rest & be Thankful - Ben Donich had hit it lucky today. A hill I've climbed twice, but Allison needed it for her round. Took the standard route from the forest carpark. The path is boggy in places, but it delivered us at the top in due course, hazy views of Ben Arthur and the always impressive Beinn an Lochain. Met at least a dozen folk on their way up as we came down. Back at the car we had time to do something else before we drove up to Tayvallich - maybe Beinn Luibhean direct from the Rest? We'd almost decided to do this when I suddenly changed my mind - I wasn't feeling 100% and the steep pathless ascent just didn't appeal. So we got back in the car and headed towards Lochgilphead.

ImageP9130206 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130207 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Ben Donich
ImageP9130208 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn an Lochain
ImageP9130209 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130210 by Al, on Flickr

We stopped off at the nature reserve at Barnluasgan, where the beaver reintroduction experiment was held. We didn't see any beavers (animals of twilight, apparently) but we did see evidence of their gnawing and felling of trees. Allison cracked her head off a low beam in the hide, which left her feeling concussed for the rest of the day :(

ImageP9130212 by Al, on Flickr

Beaver activity
ImageP9130214 by Al, on Flickr

cnocx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We still had plenty of time before the boat left - I'd noticed there was a wee Marilyn just along the road - Cnoc Reamhar. Knowing Allison's love of Marilyns, I suggested we take an amble up. She remarked that it was unlikely to have a track all the way to the top, which, as chance would have it, it pretty much did. We parked by the driveway of a farm at Gallachoille and made use of farm tracks to get us onto the hillside. A muddy track goes most of the way up the hill, leaving only the very final section as pathless. We could look across to the north of Jura from here - the sea calm and blue, a silvery haze over the hills.

Cnoc Reamhar
ImageP9130215 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130216 by Al, on Flickr

Inscribed stone
ImageP9130217 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130218 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130220 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130222 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130223 by Al, on Flickr

We descended by the same route and drove the few miles to Tayvallich, parking across from the Community Centre, which was hosting a wedding. We were asked, as we got out of the car in full hill-gear if we were here for the wedding, so maybe it was a casual dress affair :wink: Allison managed somehow to break the leg off her glasses, so was forced into a "Jack Duckworth" situation with tape :roll: She was waiting for the third thing to go wrong - given it was Friday the 13th... Had something to eat in the car then shouldered the big pack and set off along the road to the pier. The boat was already sitting there - a nifty 14 seater. "Feel the waves" is the motto on the website, and I'm sure on a rough crossing you'd do just that! However, ours was smooth. The driver showed us pictures he'd taken the day before of a dolphin leaping out of the water by the boat in Craighouse harbour - sadly we saw nothing but seals and cormorants.

Tayvallich harbour
ImageP9130224 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130225 by Al, on Flickr

Castle Sween - the oldest in Scotland, apparently
ImageP9130226 by Al, on Flickr

The Paps approaching
ImageP9130227 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130228 by Al, on Flickr

We berthed at 7pm and set off to find a place to stay. I'd done a recce on Googlemaps which suggested there was a likely spot by Corran Sands, about 4k from Craighouse. So off we wandered along the road. We only saw the west side of Jura last time, which is essentially uninhabited, so I was surprised by the number of cars on the road. Dusk began to fall, a few damselflies danced in the twilight, a heron shrieked as it flapped along the shore. We arrived at Corran Sands before darkness fell - a motorhome was already there, but a nice grassy spot to pitch the tent right on the shoreline. We were lulled to sleep by the rhythmic gentle breaking of the waves.

ImageP9130229 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130230 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9130231 by Al, on Flickr

Corran Sands
ImageP9140233 by Al, on Flickr

Saturday morning - somewhat overcast with a chance of brightening up. We set off from the tent about 8am, with about 1km to walk to the start of the route - we'd chosen the standard WH route for the Paps, with the option to extend and include Corra Bheinn if circumstances permitted; hence we took a clockwise approach. Unlike the approach from the West, where one has track much of the way in, this route relies on boggy ground - there is a path of sorts which often loses itself in rings of bog. But at least you get to see the hills as you walk towards them. Beinn a'Chaolais is the dominant Pap as one approaches, although it seemed to take a long time to gain any altitude - after walking for a while up to Loch an t-Siob we were only at 200m. Once past the boathouse, the path becomes indistinct and we set off up the front of Beinn a'Chaloais sometimes on deer track sometimes not.

ImageP9140234 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140235 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140237 by Al, on Flickr

Beginning of the track
ImageP9140238 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140239 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140240 by Al, on Flickr

Loch an t-Siob, Beinn a'Chaolais
ImageP9140241 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Shiantaidh
ImageP9140244 by Al, on Flickr

The boulders were reached and we tried to pick out a line that used more grass than scree. Higher up we met with a clear path, which led us, steeply to the summit. Fine views of the other Paps, and, to the south, the mountains of Arran. We watched a golden eagle soar into the space between Chaolais and Oir, circle, then accelerate off towards Beinn Shiantaidh. Descent was quite unpleasant - I have nothing against scree runs, but most of the small mobile scree has long since run down to the bottom of the hill, meaning that you are walking on steep dirt with only occasional bits of scree; then boulders. How the hill runners manage these hills without numerous broken bones is a mystery. Anyway, we made it down without mishap and followed a path leading to Beinn an Oir.

Oir & Shiantaidh
ImageP9140245 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140247 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140248 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Chaolias
ImageP9140249 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140250 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140251 by Al, on Flickr

Whilst I was waiting for Allison to catch up I saw the eagle return for another sortie along Beinn an Oir. Last time we were here all was in clag, so it was welcome to see the hills and their inhabitants today. The climb up Beinn an Oir started easily enough, but as we climbed onto the southern shoulder we were caught by the wind, which seemed to have risen considerably since we stood on Beinn a'Chaolais. Several times I was blown off my feet and, as you will know, dear reader, the combination of boulderfield and high wind gusts is not a pleasant one. We tried to move more to our right, to be out of the teeth of the gale and succeeded in reaching the summit cairn, albeit still being blown around.

ImageP9140254 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140256 by Al, on Flickr

An "Oor Wullie" pose
ImageP9140257 by Al, on Flickr

We shared some misgivings about how we were going to get up Beinn Shiantaidh in these conditions. To make matters worse we could see the clag coming down on the tops and the rain began to drizzle. Descent from Beinn an Oir was alright with a path leading down to the bealach.For much of the climb we were protected from the wind, at least until we reached the upper boulderfield. Then it was careful step after careful step to reach the cairn and the little wind shelter with its log book (and emergency poncho!). Battling the wind had been laborious and time consuming - as we sat in the rain, the thought of continuing on to Corra Bheinn evaporated. Let's just get down off Beinn Shiantaidh.

Beinn Shiantaidh
ImageP9140259 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140260 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140262 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140264 by Al, on Flickr

The clag didn't help, but it is one steep route down on boulders and scree, with numerous paths leading in a variety of directions. Long, long time spent til we reached the end of the scree and headed back towards Loch an t-Siob, aiming for the outsized stepping stones we'd passed on the way in. The wind was somewhat lessened by our loss in altitude, but I wondered what the crossing in the wee ferry boat would have been like today...feel the waves indeed!

More rivers should have stepping stones like these!
ImageP9140265 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9140266 by Al, on Flickr

Back on the boggy track to the starting point, then back along the road to the tent. We saw that some cyclists had pitched a couple of small tents at the other side of the beach before we crawled into dryness and relative warmth and had our meal. The wind continued to batter the tent through much of the evening, the rain subsided later on. The sea was more vigorous in its caresses of the shore than the previous night.

corrax.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We had all of Sunday to wait for the boat, which left at 5pm. Had we managed Corra Bheinn on our round of the Paps, I had intended to do the other southern Marilyn, Glas Bheinn, today. But I didn't have a route for that with me, so I reckoned we should go and do Corra Bheinn anyway - there looked to be something of a track in towards that. I always tend to get antsy about being late for ferries and the like, so was keen not to be pushed for time - it looked like Corra Bheinn should take about 12km there and back from our tent. Should be plenty time... After we'd breakfasted we spoke to a local out walking his dog - he told us the name "Corra Bheinn" referred to the hill having many summits. One of those, eh? Allison was sore and slow today, which caused some concern as we walked back along the road towards yesterday's starting point, then continued on the road until we met the start of a signed track - Evans Walk, apparently. It's not much more than an ATV-like track over boggy ground, with a river crossing to be managed midway. Corra Bheinn rose above us, some slabby sections to be enjoyed or not before we got up to the top. There are a number of cairns on different peaks, but the main summit is easy enough to identify. Impressive views over to the scree-lined flanks of Shiantaidh.

ImageP9150268 by Al, on Flickr

Corra Bheinn
ImageP9150269 by Al, on Flickr

The scree slopes of Shiantaidh
ImageP9150271 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150272 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150273 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150276 by Al, on Flickr

We returned by the same route, after my idea to take a line more directly towards the Corran River was abandoned due to concerns about what we'd find at the end - would we be left with a difficult wade or would we be immersed in bog. Better the devil you know and all that. We got back to the tent in good time - packed it up and set off along the road towards Craighouse, arriving in sunshine with a couple of hours to spare before the boat left. We enjoyed the sun, had a paddle in the harbour and a cup of tea before it was time to leave. The crossing was calm today as well, no sightings of cetacea on this run either :(

ImageP9150274 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150275 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150277 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150278 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150279 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150280 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150281 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP9150282 by Al, on Flickr
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Re: Jura! Jura! Jura!

Postby iangpark » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:05 am

Oooh lovely :D I'm thinking of a Jura trip myself sometime soon - these pics are great! More amazed you both found the track up Cnoc Reamhar first time round - perhaps my favourite sub-2k :)
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Re: Jura! Jura! Jura!

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:00 pm

iangpark wrote:Oooh lovely :D I'm thinking of a Jura trip myself sometime soon - these pics are great! More amazed you both found the track up Cnoc Reamhar first time round - perhaps my favourite sub-2k :)

Yeah, I noticed your long route from Tayvallich with the recommendation not to do it that way :lol:
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Re: Jura! Jura! Jura!

Postby Jaxter » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:09 pm

Lovely 8) This has been on my hit list for a while, you’ve just reminded me why :D
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Re: Jura! Jura! Jura!

Postby Blokewithastroke » Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:25 am

My wife and I visited Jura for a day a couple of years ago. I don't like to say this but this was on my 'bucket list' of the places I would like to go - simply because it is so far away from our present abode and it is extremely tricky to get to. Or so I thought! We - like you - found that we could get there by travelling on a 'mini-ferry' to the island. A bit pricey, to say the least, but well worth it! Especially as we were the only people to be travelling back to the mainland!
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Re: Jura! Jura! Jura!

Postby malky_c » Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:32 pm

Mmm... a return to Jura is required soon I think 8)

Looks like you found a better way up Cnoc Reamhar than I did, although I thought it was a great viewpoint.
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