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Scotland 2011

At the end of May and beginning of June we decided to join some friends on a little visit to the Inner Hebrides. We caught the Hopscotch from Ardrossen to Brodick on Arran then after 2 days onto Islay for another 2 days then Jura.

Arran is a truly beautiful island and just like a mini Scotland with the hills in the North and the lowlands in the South. The east coast is very lush and pretty whereas the west coast is somewhat more bleak and barren due to the strong winds that constantly hit it. At the top of the island is the beautiful bay of Lochranza where the old castle stands and the ferry terminal to Islay is situated. There is a good campsite on the approach to Lochranza just after the distillery. It's a place where we would definitely return to and spend more time exploring and sampling the tasty cheeses and beers.


The carpark just outside the ferry terminal which has a lovely view across the bay to the hills and an Information centre just over the road. A view of the hills in the north from the main East coast road.


The approach to Lochranza just after the campsite. The old castle at Lochranza


We left Arran on another windy day by ferry to Claonaig on the Mull of Kintyre, then drove across to Port Askaig to catch the ferry to Kennacraig on Islay. This island was totally different to Arran in that it was fairly barren, far fewer trees and a lot more rugged scenery wise. We had arrived a week after they had been hit by a really powerful gale which had blown the sea spray all over the island and most of the leaves and branches etc. on the windward side had turned brown with the salt burn.

After a night of howling winds and pouring rain we decided to have a look at the Bruichladdich Distillery and warm ourselves up with a little taste of the "water of life". What a selection they had and all available for a "wee" taste. We spent a blissfull couple of hours there and then meandered off to the Kilchoman Distillery, the newest on Islay for 124 years. We met up with our friends later and travelled down to the campsite at Kintra, a wild and wooly place but beautiful at the same time. After a night when we had to drop the top because of the wind we made our way back up to Kennacraig to catch the ferry to Jura.



The approach to Kennacraig The beach at Kintra, a wild and windy place but beautifull.


A walk on the beach after supper taken at 10,05pm. Our windy campsite at Kintra. This was taken at 9.30pm


We arrived back at Kennacraig in time to catch the small ferry to Jura. The ramp was so steep that our friend's motorhome grounded going on and off the ferry. We were very lucky with the weather it was superb.

We trundled up the narrow road to Craighouse, the main and only town on the island. We found a place to park just before the pier and guess what, only 100 metres from the Jura Distillery.



The view of the "Three Paps of Jura" from where we were parked. The ultimate in wild camping. We found this beach on the way up to the north of the island and there were a few campers enjoying the serenity of the place.


An idyllic little bay on the sheltered east coast Not only are the 200 local inhabitants outnumbered by around 3000 deer but there are a few Highland Cattle around as well.


After Jura we headed back to the Mull of Kintyre and then onto Tayvallich which we had tried to stay at twice before but both times they were full. It's a lovely drive to get there along the Crinan Canal and beside the lochs.



The lovely Crinan canal The beautifull village of Tayvallich which has a good campsite and a great pub.


  Having our last meal together in Tayvallich before setting off home.


We then headed home to the south coast and our friends were off to the the Outer Hebrides to continue their tour of the islands.