Last full day, and our plan was to visit Bunna before heading off to Jura for the rest of the day. Their open day was thursday, but unfortunately the ferry could not run.
The drive to Bunnahabain is possibly the most scenic on the island: a constant panorama of the Paps of Jura and the sound on one side, intermintent lochs and hills on the other. This is in contrast to the scene approaching the distillery, where grey communist style houses squat in clusters on the approach. The distillery itself is not the most attractive, although it has its charms and the setting more than makes up for it. They have a row of rental cottages overlooking the sounds. Great views, but you would need to be a big bunna fan or have a boat, takes ages to get anywhere. The Bunna festival bottling is a 14 year old cognac finish (59.6% abv), 472 bottles. Not tried it yet, look forward to it.
We didnt have any events booked for Bunna distillery so after buying the festival bottlings and a wander about we set off.
Jura is reached by a short shuttle ferry. Port Askaig is currently taking all the traffic to islay whilst port ellen port is being rebuilt. This presents an additional risk to trips here, ferries from Askaig have been cancelled twice this week. I think its the wind that does it, the currents in the sounds are strong and there is not a massive amount of leeway. We have no contingency plan, so hopefully they will run today!
Jura is about 25 miles long and has a population of 200, but it seemed busy today. The festival and a weekend fell run meant there were scores of cyclists and campers. All we could say is, these people must be insane. The thought of camping through these gales and cycling up and down the only single track road in the sheeting rain does not appeal. There were many families, some with young children. You can just imagine them in twenty years telling there friends about their horrible family hoildays where they had to cycle 20 miles in the rain.
We stopped off in Craighouse and looked into the distillery shop. They are also doing a festival bottling which they kindly let us taste. Its a very interesting french oak expression, not as astringent as many of the virgin oak whiskies we have tried. £100 a bottle though, and given we have more whiskies than we can fit in a pack, we gave it a miss for the club. I picked up a bottle of Prophesy for myself, be rude not to.
We then went on a lovely short walk 2.5miles outside of Craighouse. Drive out on the only road. After a cattlegrid you will see the peninsula ahead and a right turn onto the beach. Ahead you will see a house that is a converted chruch (apparently a holiday let, quite fancy staying there!). Walk along the road to the house, down a valley with a pine forest on your right, until you get to a bridge. On the right there is a path that follows the stream down to the beach. You can then walk back up the beach to your car. Takes about an hour and is well worth it. We managed to do the walk in the one hour it was not raining. smug!
We then continued on to the end of the public road and stopped off at the beach. Lovely location, same about the weather. It has tipped down both times we have come to jura, this time we at least avoided getting soaked ourselves. Coming back to Islay felt like returning to civilization, strange how your perceptions shift.
I’ve bought a lot of whisky. We now have all eight festival bottlings for the tasting pack and a diverse range it is too. The festival bottlings cost on average £70. Whilst shopping in the Bowmore co-op I noticed that you can buy Black Bottle for £12.30. So thursday night we drank whisky cocktails with black bottle (whisky sours my favorite) and gin and tonics with Bruichladdich gin thumbs up for that). On a boozing holiday you need to mix it up!