Sunday, 30 June 2013
Islay. Pap of Jura Trip.
He had it all planned out. He would pick me up in Glasgow at 4:45 am in time to catch the early ferry from Kennacraig to Port Askaig on Islay. ( Port Askaig and Jura Ferry seen in the picture above from the top deck of larger ferry. MV Finlaggan) We would then cycle in by cunning means to bag the summit of Beinn An Oir then cycle back to get the ferry and drive back to Glasgow, returning around 1:00am. A long day but a fine wee adventure.
I had walked over the Paps of Jura years ago with the club we were in at that time but Alex had missed that trip back then. Now he was keen to bag his Corbett and I was more than happy to revisit both islands again A shot of one of the Paps from the ferry heading for Islay. Looks like a pastel or watercolour here due to the diffuse light. It's a two hour trip to reach Port Askaig then a ten minute hop over to Jura on the smaller boat. The strength of the current pouring through the narrow gap between the two islands through the Sound of Islay is impressive and we hit it in full flow. If you fell in off the pier you would be sucked out to sea in minutes when it's at its wildest.
This wee ferry requires big engines for its short crossing.
We arrived on Jura shortly before 11:00 am and set off on the bikes, heading for the western slopes of Beinn An Oir (Mountain of Gold) near a long trail of scree and erratic boulders called 'The Witches Pavement.' Alex was a driven man as usual. No time to stop for photographs. He was off into the distance in a flash. Dumping the bikes at the end of the track we took to the slopes and came across a variety of animals.
'How much food have you got with you? Alex asked me.
Not that it was any of his business but I had a packet of six pork and pickle pies, a Cornish pasty, three packets of ready salted crisps, a six pack of Bakewell slices, a slab of cheese, a large well known brand of smoked sausage and four king sized mars bars.
'I don't want to run short.' I informed him. 'It's going to be a long day. How? What have you got?'
'Packet of fags and two sausage rolls.' He looked at me in expectation.
'Well you cant have any of mine.' I protested. 'I'm down to one Mars Bar and a Bakewell Slice here. You should have asked earlier.'
We've hardly started walking!'
'Getting up early makes me hungry. I don't smoke so I have to eat food instead.'
'You fat greedy bastard.' Throw me a crumb here!'
'No! I need to ration myself now. Have another cigarette if you're hungry. All the fashion models swear by them so they must work.'
He settled for that.
Not doing the full traverse didn't bother me as I'd bagged them years ago and Alex was focused only on Corbett's for the moment. Even at that we didn't have that much spare time left to catch the ferry. On the mad downhill dash back along the track Alex's front brake stopped working which made the brilliant kilometres long freewheel at a steep angle even more exciting for him.
One of the walk back. Alex a happy man with a new Corbett under his belt.
We got back just after one o clock in the morning. A long but enjoyable day.
Video this week is one I found when searching for images of the Aiguille De La Vanoise. The iconic needle of the Vanoise National Park. A 9000 foot blade of rock in the French Alps that I climbed years ago with three friends from my old club.
It was my first proper rock climb in the alps and my last. Scared the bejesus out of me so much that I decided to just walk up the Alpine peaks after that.
It was down in the guide book as a useful training climb for more serious alpine ascents. After bagging the sofa sized summit on this shark fin arête with massive exposure on both sides of the foot wide ridge I decided the serious stuff would have to manage without me. Worth a watch. Spectacular in full screen and 480 definition. These guys make it look easy though. We bailed out after the summit when we came to a hanging abseil into space. 'Continue without incident' was all the guide book said at this point. Useful training for what! Flying? I've climbed harder stuff technically in the UK but never with this level of screaming exposure on each side. Imagine a 9000 foot high INN Pin ( long side way up) on Skye and that's close in feel to this narrow blade of rock.' Mammy- daddy' was muttered several times on this. I last used that phrase when I was five years old. What a tick though! Thanks to Brian and JB and JT.