Friday, May 20, 2016

No evidence of book burning or obsessive compulsive behaviour at Cruib Lodge, Jura.

 From the great raised beach at the head of outer West Loch Tarbert we set off in a brisk wind...

 ...through the narrows at Cumhann Mor which lead into...

 ...the middle loch. We were in the last hour of the flood so in addition to the wind we had some tidal assistance. This required some care as the narrows are riddled with rocks.

 We took the tidal inside passage behind Eilean Dubh before entering the broader expanse of the middle loch proper.

 Cruib Lodge is easy to miss but I had been before and we turned left after the right headland.

 Cruib Lodge was built in Victorian times as the deer larder for...

 ...the Ruantallain Estate. The right third is a store. The middle third is the MBA bothy with a sleeping platform for two. The left third is an airy bright room which is the former deer larder. The former ventilation vents in its three exterior walls have been replaced by large windows making it possibly the brightest and airiest bothy room in Scotland. There is a sleeping platform for three or four. It is left open outwith the deer shooting season but is locked for use by the estate during the season.

It was a joy to arrive at an empty bothy at HW as we did not even need to pull the boats up the beach.

 One by one...

 ...we rounded the headland until...

 ...all three were on the beach.

The sun was setting fast so we left the identical boats lined up on the beach while we dried our things in the last of the sun. Afterwards we hung our identical dry suits on individual pegs in the lodge and got our meal ready.

We chose to dine outdoors on the freshly painted table and sample some Jura Superstition whisky, which had been distilled a mere 16.47km away over the hills. One thing I like about sea kayaking is that the unpredictable and variable nature of the weather, tides etc. tends not to attract people with an obsessive compulsive personality...

 While we arranged our cutlery this is the view we enjoyed with our meal.

After eating we unloaded the boats of the driftwood we had gathered earlier and sawed it into equal sections for the fire. We had enough to leave for others (no driftwood reaches this middle part of the loch) so we felt justified in using some of the neatly stacked peats our friend Tony had cut and left on his recent visit. The fine library of books above the fire had escaped burning since Tony and I had visited exactly a year before. This is a sign of an appreciative and literate clientele.

As the moon rose into the clear sky the temperature plummeted and we were...

 ...glad to be in a cosy bothy. We planned to paddle through the next narrows to the inner loch the next day and portage over the track from its head to the east coast of Jura. At spring tides the ebb runs out at over 8 knots through a clean rocky channel with no eddies. There was nothing for it but to get up early.

After a final check of the moon and stars we went to bed. The only other sign of life was this yacht lying at anchor. Given the forecast F5-6 winds overnight, I knew her crew would get less sleep than us as they would need to keep an anchor watch and keep checking her position.

Ian and Mike used the large room with the windows but my asthma was bothering me a bit so I slept in the middle room beside the remains of the smouldering peat. I thought the air would be drier. I had forgotten about the bothy mice which kept me awake for a good part of the night.


  1. Some great images of the bothy here Douglas - what a place...especially for individualists like us!


    1. Yes the bothy was exceptionally clean when we arrived and we left it spick and span as well. I thought we did a great job of neatly arranging the peats round the fire place to dry. :o)

  2. Hi Douglas enjoyed the OCD theme, some of the people I paddle with have it so bad they take sooooo long to get ready before setting off. There are some great photos here I particularly like the one with the small white sail against the mountains. Looking forward to more....
    Cheers, Jim