|Jura, Inner Hebrides, Scotland|
Jura is wild. It chewed us up and spat us out and we loved (nearly) every minute of it. We failed to complete Evan's Walk, a six mile route along a stalker's path to Glenbatrick, because we couldn't cross a river. We were confused, befuddled and beaten by the Paps – Jura's crowning glory of three peaks – leaving us shaking on a narrow ridge as a rescue helicopter flew beneath us, giving us 'the sign' to go no further. As for the Corryvreckan whirlpool off the northern tip of the island, it was completely out of reach for two people on foot who had a bus to catch and a warm bed to return to.
Despite, or perhaps because of our over-riding sense of failure Jura stole our hearts. The island may be indomitable and harsh for the most part, but Jura also has some genuinely gorgeous, softer corners. It was an easy pleasure strolling northwards along the quiet, pot-holed road for instance, past turquoise inlets, charming houses and leafy glades. We stumbled across two adders knotted up, noticed a bat flying in broad daylight and marvelled at the carnivorous sundew plant. Memorable moments for sure, but we will return for the wild parts of the island that beat us on our first encounter.
Jura is in the Top 10... for its immediate, exhausting, seductive wildness.