I fought the wind and won!
Last night I had some noisy neighbours who regularly had a domestic every half hour or so. A knowledgeable person would have been able to identify whether this raucous lot were barnacle , greylag or whatever geese variety visits Islay in August ( or perhaps they never left).
The good weather stayed overnight but as I packed my tent , the wind got up and the clouds obscured the sun.
I headed out on the road to Port Ellen where I discovered the wind was from the S.E. and therefore almost directly in my face. The road is long and straight but the road side verges were full of colour with scabious, knapweed, vetch and much more.
I went into Port Ellen where the tiny village store is packed with everything you could and more. I had no room for olives and left the beer but bought bits and pieces for lunch which I took out to Port Ellen lighthouse which I had wanted to visit.
I fully intended to go for a swim but managed to run out of time. I looked to the sea and was not impressed. The waves looked serious and the wind was only about Force 4.
Said wind was behind me on my way back and I made excellent time stopping at the brewery just beyond Bridgend. I have not done much of the traditional Islay stuff but I don't like whisky!
Whilst waiting for the ferry to Jura I was again approached by a man wanting to know more about my trailer. He even offered to pump up my tyres with his track pump ( my hand pump lets more air out than in).
The tide was ripping through , no Corryvreckan but scary enough. The ferry is only £1.50 one way with the friendliest of crew.
The force 4 had strengthened considerably to nearer 6 and I struggled into it uphill for the first 4 miles. The man from the Jura hotel ( who had been at the brewery buying beer) stopped and offered to take my trailer , I declined ( I have had a number of such offers but declined them all , this was the most tempting as the wind was foul). Just after the 4 mile milepost I was rewarded by the sight of a pair of hen harriers quartering the moor.
Jura is very different from Islay. The pressure of grazing from the high numbers of deer have left the vegetation impoverished with mainly moor grass, rush and bracken. The verge-side flowers are virtually nonexistent with just tormentil surviving the grazing.
Once the road turned North up the coast I was able to make much better arriving in Craighouse at 7.40 (90 mins to do 8 miles!)
Camping in the front garden of the hotel is hardly wild but there is access to showers , hot food and drink! For pudding I chose "the Paps of Jura" but they were out of tablet ice-cream so I had my second choice, the Corryvreckan whirlpool.
Miles on the clock 206.2
Miles today 40.2
Tomorrow the forecast is poor, better on Sunday so I may just chill
Woke to sunshine. The Paps had a head each of cloud but it looked as if it would lift. I checked the forecast at the shop and found that it was to be good until Tuesday!
Back at the campsite I chatted to my neighbours , 3 men from Arran (2 of them) and 1 from Yorkshire . We swooped notes. I told them about the John Muir Trust, they told me about an open fishing bothy that was good for an overnight stop. I decided that I would stop out overnight, so no hurry then!
What with chatting, packing and generally being on island time I didn't leave the campsite until well after 11, had a gentle 2 mile level cycle then spent more time repacking my rucksack with everything I needed , well almost.
Barely had I started walking when I came across a particularly sluggish adder (it had been a cold night), so slow in moving I was able to get my camera out and take a photo.
. I saw another ( quicker) adder, a very quick lizard ,lots of frogs, a golden ringed tailed dragon fly, a male black darter dragonfly Sympetrum danae.(thanks Daryl for i.d.)
|Sympetrum danae.(male black darter dragonfly)|
I left my tea and sleeping stuff with a note and headed off for Beinn Chaolais eventually reaching the summit in a slow 2 hrs 30 mins. The views would have been spectacular but for the haze which rendered Mull and the mainland misty outlines. Colonsay and Islay however showed up well. I spent 30 mins checking my e-mails updating my blog and FB as I had a signal. By this time I had decided to leave the other 2 Paps until tomorrow and have an early night. Back at the bothy I was visited by a diver ( black throat I think but the light was poor) in bed early but couldn't sleep.
Miles on clock 209.5
Miles today 3.5