Jura jaunt

By James Carron

Walkers seeking solace should look to Jura for a truly remote and beautiful landscape. Just two hours by ferry from the mainland, an island paradise of dramatic craggy peaks, rolling open moorland and secluded coastal coves awaits.

The most famous upland features are the prominent Paps of Jura, three steep and rocky mountain tops protected on all sides by loose rock, crags and cliffs which should only be tackled by experience scramblers.

But you don't have to reach the top to enjoy the breathtaking presence of these perfect peaks. A hike in their shadow is equally awe-inspiring, especially when combined with a visit to the uninhabited north coast of Jura were the only sign of human life is the occasional yacht at anchor in a sheltered bay.

Wildlife abounds here and, as well as herds of red deer, look out for mountain hare, birds of prey including golden eagle, seals, otters and dolphins.

From the cattle grid on the A846, cross the bridge and at the far end, path drops down and runs along the river bank to a wooden ladder stiles. Climb over and head upstream on a grassy path to a gravel track. Turn left and climb briefly to its high point, then turn right and follow a vague path over the grassy embankment above the river. It becomes much more distinct as it crosses a patch of bracken.

The path rises around the hillside, where it can be wet underfoot and a little vague. As you go, excellent views open out to the Paps ahead. Continue west over the hillside until you reach the eastern shore of Loch an t-Siob.

Carry on over open country with no path. Climb north into the pass between Beinn Shiantaidh, one of the three Paps, and Corra Bheinn, a craggy hill to the right. The ascent is stiff, but the dry ground and short heather present no problems. It soon eases off to emerge at a smattering of small lochans spread across the col.

Skirt left of the lochans, below the scree-covered slope of Beinn Shiantaidh. For those ascending the peak itself, a path starts here, and while the climb is straightforward, some scrambling over loose rock is required. The route continues across the col into the glen beyond. Views open out down Glen Batrick to the sandy beach at the bottom, and red deer may be seen.

Continue down and, once well clear of the crags of Corra Bheinn, skirt right to the path below Loch na Fudarlaich Beag. A detour down Glen Batrick to the bay and its isolated old cottage is recommended. It is a remote and rarely visited spot, with a broad sweep of white sand nestling in the craggy coast. From the beach, retrace your steps to Loch na Fudarlaich Beag and follow the path upstream, passing a series of small waterfalls and calm pools, to the larger Loch na Fudarlaich.

The path continues to rise to reach its high point above the lochan, before descending over open moorland, with occasional cairns along the way. Cross a couple of burns until a path becomes wetter underfoot and less easy to follow, until it emerges on A846 at a small bridge of railway sleepers.

Turn right and the road leads to the bridge over the Corran River a short walk south. There is little traffic on the road but do watch for vehicles.


Distance: 12 miles/19km.
Map: OS Landranger 1:50,000 sheet 61.
Start: By A846 bridge over the Corran River, three miles north of Craighouse (grid ref NR 545720).
Parking: There is space to park on the grassy verge a short distance up the road.
Grading: A strenuous upland walk over some rough ground. Some sections of path are indistinct and boggy and there is no path in places, although route finding in clear conditions is straightforward enough.
Stalking Takes place between August and January so check with the estate before planning a trip (tel 01496 820217/820332).