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5 September 2021

It was a Sunday and the forecast was grim. Even the ferry captain at Port Askaig said it would be raining soon. But I really wanted to visit Jura and so I set off on the first crossing of the day hoping to get in at least a few hours of dry walking before the rains. When I say ‘crossing’, it’s literally just a five minute hop on the small ferry from Islay to Jura, but it has to be said Jura has a very different vibe to its near neighbour. This wild and rugged island, 29 miles long and 7 miles wide is populated by just 200 people but 6,500 deer (it’s name means ‘dear island’). The only road, mostly single track, runs up the east side of the island, with most of the action centred around the village of Craighouse. The west is virtually uninhabited, amazing for an island almost touching the Scottish mainland. On this overcast day I set off with few expectations because of the forecast rain, but I knew I had to at least visit Corran Sands. Just a few miles north of Craighouse, this beautiful beach was a picture of serenity on this quiet Sunday morning. Even just driving through Craighouse, I was struck by the sense of community on Jura – the welcoming signs, the tiny school, the friendly waving locals. It felt calm and homely. And when I reached the tiny Corran Sands car park, the community feel was everywhere – noticeboards, benches, walking recommendations, picnic areas. The beach even has its own set of rules. It’s such a beautiful bay and superbly managed by the community. I saw no-one in the hour I spent on this beach but I felt part of the family. Even the sun tried to break through the grey clouds to welcome me!