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Picture of walkers coming up a single track road, a bay in the background. Dark clouds overhead After the mostly nice weather the previous days with almost no rain the skies didn't look too promising for the sixth and longest walk of the Islay Walking Week 2007. The morning was cloudy and windy with heavy showers. Not the best conditions for a walk on the Isle of Jura...

Still a group of 20 hardened walkers met at Port Askaig for shared transport over to the Isle of Jura. We crossed the Sound of Islay on the ferry and drove over to the Three Arched Bridge where we met Gordon Muir, Louise and their dogs.

Gordon was going to take us along Evans Walk to Glen Batrick, then up to the saddle between two of the Paps of Jura and finally back through Gleann an t-Siob. Or would bad weather require him to change the route?
Picture of three walkers turning off at a sign reading Evans Walk Picture of walkers in the hills under dark clouds and rain
Picture of walkers in the rain From the Three Arched Bridge we walked up the road for about 3/4 of a mile until we reached the sign for Evans Walk. Here we turned off to join this path north to Loch Tarbert.

It was hard going. While it was dry when we left rain soon set in. For the first time during the week even I (and I'm usually very late to put on a rain jacket) put on my rain jacket. Even Gordon was fairly pessimistic and didn't promise us any views. But we plodded on. Up the hill along Evan's Walk we went.

Looking back there was some hope, or was it just a reminder of better weather earlier? Over the Sound of Jura the broke through, reflecting brightly on the water. Skervuile Lighthouse was clearly visible, occasionally bathed in sunlight.
Picture of the sun breaking through over a sound between an island and the mainland
Picture of a view over a sea loch, clouds breaking up Our persistence was to be rewarded:

When we passed Loch na Fùdarlaich the rain slowly eased and when Glen Batrick with Loch Tarbert came into view it got even better: Over the sea (where the weather was coming from) the clouds broke up and we could catch the first glimpses of blue sky again. It increasingly looked like we were going to be able to complete the walk as planned after all.

We turned west to walk around Corra Bheinn, following a line approx 250m above sea level. Beinn Shiantaidh, one of the Paps of Jura (the middle one at 757m), came into view. And yes, the clouds around it were lifting. After stopping for some rest we continued up the hill, soon walking in brilliant sunshine. The views back over Glen Batrick and to Loch Tarbert were impressive. Amazing how the sun changed the view!
Picture of walkers in front of a steep mountain, clouds lifting on the mountain Picture of a view down a hill and into a glen
Picture of Armin in front of Glen Batrick and Loch Tarbert The weather and the views were so nice that I agreed to have a tourist picture taken of me, only the second one of this walking week (the other one was during the Killinallan Walk on Islay). Courtesy of Louise that's me on the left, Glen Batrick and Loch Tarbert providing the background.

Finally we reached the top of the saddle between the two Paps. The views were impressive, the Paps of Jura around us, beautiful landscape below.

It is quite difficult to capture the vastness of the landscape, the huge space around you. I've tried it with a panorama, a Quicktime VR panorama of the view north from between the Paps of Jura:
Picture of a panoramic view between two hills
Picture of a group of walkers resting for lunch under two mountains We stopped for lunch just past the saddle, sitting down in the 'shadow' of the Paps of Jura. A lunch with a great view out over Beinn a' Chaolais, Gleann an t-Siob with Loch an t-Siob and the Sound of Jura over to the mainland was enjoyed by all. Most of us didn't want to leave again.

But we had to move on, time for the final leg of the walk.

We now walked east between Beinn Shiantaidh and Loch an t-Siob, slowly but steadily descending from the hill as we continued. There were plenty of stops to admire the views, either looking back at the Paps of Jura or looking out over the glen and the sea. By now it was almost perfectly clear, hardly any clouds left in the sky.
Picture of a view over a loch (lake) in a glen (valley), walkers in the foreground Picture of walkers descending from a hill
Picture of an adder in the grass We hadn't seen much wildlife during the walk, in particular not many of the thousands of deer living on Jura. May be they didn't like the earlier rain?

But just before we reached Loch an t-Siob Gordon spotted a more dangerous inhabitant of the island, an adder. While not deadly to a healthy adult a bite can be very painful, so we watched it with great respect before moving on.

Looking back we had a fantastic view over where we had walked. While it's not the real thing the 180° Quicktime VR panorama of Loch an t-Siob and the three Paps of Jura might give you an idea of this impressive view:
Picture of a panoramic view over a loch (lake) and three mountains (the Paps of Jura)
Picture of walkers crossing a burn over some boulders We crossed the Corran River at some boulders just below Loch an t-Siob before more or less following the river, first east, then turning south.

Looking back there were further impressive views of the Paps of Jura (in particular Beinn Shiantaidh) under a now clear blue sky. The scree covered hillsides look impressive from a distance as well as close up.

After a great walk despite the grey and wet start we arrived back at our cars. We quickly drove to Craighouse, where we enjoyed a well earned drink. All too soon it was time to drive back to Feolin Ferry to catch the ferry back to Islay.
Picture of two walkers with scree covered mountains in the background Picture of a group of people sitting around a table with drinks
If you are interested in more information about Islay, Colonsay and Jura you might also be interested in my Isle of Islay pages. There you will find many more pictures and further information about Islay, Jura and Colonsay.

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