Isle of Jura backpacking and snake charming

Posted by on Jul 13, 2011 in Camp, Islands, Walk | 7 Comments

The wild, uninhabited west coast of Jura captured my imagination when I glimpsed it between fleeting clouds from the summit of Beinn Shanntaidh two years ago. We returned at the weekend and made two traverses from the road on the east coast to the west. The first skirted the northern flanks of the Paps to Glanbatrick with its fabulous raised beaches, the second to the Glengarrisdale bothy near the north end of the island.

We saw only two other walkers the whole weekend, but there was plenty of wildlife. At Glenbatrick we watched a seal playing in the water, barking loudly when he surfaced and even breaching on a couple of occasions. At Glengarrisdale deer and goats infested the beach. The walking was rough, pathless bog and tussocky, waist-high grass. I saw one young adder, who knows how many I missed?
Having two encounters with poisonous snakes in the space of a month made me check what to do in the event of a bite. The advise from the NHS is remain calm, immobilise the affected limb to prevent the poison spreading then seek immediate medical assistance. It sounds like they usually just keep an eye on you in hospital anyway, so if bitten when right out in the wilds I’m not sure whether it would be best to sit it out or to push on in the hope of getting to a doctor or hospital.
Does anyone have any good snakebite stories? I don’t mean the lager and cider variety……..
MV Finlaggan steaming between Kennacraig and Port Askaig

Sunset from Glenbatrick, Jura
Sunset from Glenbatrick, Isle of Jura
Glengarrisdale bothy, Isle of Jura
Campspot near Glengarrisdale bothy, Isle of Jura


  1. surfnslide
    July 16, 2011

    Great photos. Hoping to try some walking and wild camping on the West coast of Jura next Easter to explore the coast and raised beaches and bag the paps. Appetite whetted

  2. Hendrik Morkel
    July 17, 2011

    Top photos, Gavin!

  3. Gavin Macfie
    July 17, 2011

    The west coast of Jura is a tremendously inspiring place. The sun hangs low in the sky for hours in the evening at this time of year, providing amazing light for photography. I am already planning to return in the autumn.

  4. blueskyscotland
    July 18, 2011

    Terrific photos Gavin.
    Always fancied that walk just never got around to it yet.Done the Paps years ago.Jura is famed for its adders.I think out there you might just have to pitch a tent with plenty of water,food and painkillers and sit it out if hit by a snake unless you were near a road or could reach a farm.You might feel sick but as you know adders are only really a danger to young children and the elederly.In USA you can get anti venom I think for some snakes.With boots and socks it should not be a problem though.Ticks are a much bigger threat.

  5. Martin Rye
    July 21, 2011

    Superb photos and inspiring with it. Thanks for that.

  6. Robert Craig
    August 1, 2011

    In South Africa we were driving along when we saw a puff adder (look it up – it’s nastier than it sounds) lying at the side of the road – “oh look,” says my mum, “a dead snake” and got out to inspect it… “no!” I shouted… as she approached it slithered off into the undergrowth.

  7. Coffee In India
    May 28, 2013

    Very nice post of the day. I hope everyone should get the maximum benefit from this.


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