Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Walking on Jura: Corryvrecken

View out over the Northern tip of the island
Final post on the walks I did during my recent trip to Jura.  You can see all my Jura posts here.  There is a bit of dearth of info on the web on walks on Jura so aiming to make this a bit of a reference point for others - hoping it will be useful!

The best written guide I found is this one;

And of course you'll want the right OS map.  All set with this and assuming that you're based in Craighouse (the main settlement) you've got a great couple of days ahead of you.  

This walk is all about getting to see the famous Corryvrecken whirlpool.  Be warned, this is a real yomp of a day - 30km+ over nearly eight hours.  Not technical or difficult (you're just on the one road), just a long old day.  

The end of a long day!
For this walk you really do need to use the bus (NB, the bus service has been re-tendered - it's now run by Garelochhead Coaches not Alex Dunnachie as per the Argyll and Bute website - the link I give here is the right one!).  I caught the 0803 from Craighouse and got off at Ardlussa which is as far North as the bus goes (not not the end of the line - it then loops a bit back South to Inverlussa before turning around for the return trip).  The bus drivers are very friendly so will drop you off at the right place if you ask.  So you'll suddenly be in the middle of no-where at about 8.45am - brilliant!

The route is incredibly simple, just keep following the road in front of you through some farm buildings, it slowly works its way up through the island, progressively becoming a track then a rough path.  You'll pass a kind of pull-in car park on the right with a sign urging car drivers not to progress further.  If you're driving rather than getting there on foot please do heed this warning - you won't be able to see it, but about a mile up the road there's a chain across the road.  And this ain't the place to be doing a three-point turn or reversing back...

Eventually you'll come across a little white and grey house in the distance;

This is Barnhill - where Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four - there's a great booklet available to buy in the Hotel foyer that tells the story of his time on the island.  The house is a private holiday let so you can't really get close but the views from up above are fantastic as you can see.  

Press on and you'll eventually come to the most northerly settlement on the island - Kinuachdrachd which apparently offers bunkhouse accommodation.  Your main purpose of being here is to make sure that you take the right route to the whirlpool however.  

¡No pasarán!
Press on up past this sign and you'll soon see another smaller one partly hidden by the grass promising that the whirlpool is just (I think I'm remembering this right) a mile up the hill.  I think it's further than that in any case.  

You can't really go wrong at this point, just keep heading forward, the ground gets a bit boggy but nothing too much to worry about.  You'll eventually be rewarded by this view;

As you can see, there's not much sign of the whirlpool - it's very tidal and I was there at the wrong time - I knew this but the bus times restricted me a bit.  Ask at the hotel for the best times to visit.  There are some videos on YouTube of the swirly goodness - here and here.  

I took my own little videos which (I think) have a sense of where the water would start spinning in a couple of hours - there are little darts and eddies that are slowly swirling around.  In the photo above you can see a real stillness in the water which is where the action happens.  

And once you've had your lunch and rested up a bit, it's time to start to think about the trip back.  Very straightforward, just retrace your steps - it's pretty much a wash in terms of ascends vs descends so you'll not be much faster or slower in either direction.  The bus back will pick you up where you were dropped off just after 4.45pm.  But if you miss it or are very early and don't want to wait, then you can easily hitch a lift - I was offered three in the ten minutes I was waiting there.  

What other walks can you say that you've seen a whirlpool and the house where a world-class piece of literature was written and still be back in time for dinner? 

1 comment:

  1. Great place for adventure! I would really enjoy going to the outdoors and exploring the wonderful corryvreckan whirlpool. It's really famous and I love to try boating in there. It would be so thrilling!