The Isle of Jura Fell Race is a classic and one to be recommended, 7 hills and 5 glorious k on the road. The journey over to Craighouse is part of the adventure whether you take the Calmac from Kennacraig or RIB from Tayvallich. Blazing sunshine on the Friday the boat trip over from Tayvallich allowed some great views of the “Paps” and my regular thoughts of how do you get down off the last Pap.
Saturday morning arrived and lots of Carnethy people were amongst the 250+ on the start line. The start feels a bit like a charge as everyone heads out of Craighouse up to the mast and bog that awaits at the side of the forest. Once out of the bog the next section is quite runnable, and onto the first hill Dubh Bheinn, then it’s onto two more hills before the descent to the river and one classic view of the next climb up the first Pap. It looks very steep but also very awesome. The climb up the first pap is the best climb of the race and the views at the top were amazing. I sometimes ask myself why you do these races, this year I was never going to get a PB, but the views were part of the reward and banter from other runners, if you pass them on the uphill bits and they pass you again on the downs, its all part of the fun. The next up and down bits are a bit rough and there are lots of big boulders to navigate, especially off the last Pap which can feel a bit horrid. After coming off the last hill, Cora Bheinn, the nice runnable bit takes you across the river, through more nice bog (special thanks to Wendy Dodds for a gel at this point of the race) to the 3 Arch Bridge. The last test is a nice 5k run along the road to Craighouse and the finish. The threatened thunder and lightening didn’t arrive but it was fairly humid for the duration of the race and you can be forced to drink from a bog if you run out of water. Old news now but Finlay Wild won the race setting a new record and Jill Stephen first lady. Lots of great runs from other people too – too many to mention and great marshals out supporting on the hill. Jura is a great fell race, with lots of up and down and a great weekend away and one I would recommend. Lots of time between now and next race day to get the training in.