(Paps of Jura from Bowmore harbour)

The Paps of Jura dominate the horizon all over the inner Hebrides and look spectacular from any direction. They are fabulous but quite challenging hills – steep, rocky and boulder-covered, rising out of Jura’s rough, boggy landscape. I climbed them on a misty day in 2005, but there’s absolutely no way I could imagine running around them during the infamous Jura Fell Race, even if my circumstances were different. It is a tough race, taking in seven summits and sixteen miles (or considerably more, if your navigational skills aren’t up to much). Tom managed the race last year in truly appalling conditions, completing the course in 5 hours 6 minutes. He was determined this year to improve his time, and, like the other 210 hardy souls in the field, was really hoping for better weather. All day on Friday, the view to the Paps was clear, with very little cloud. But the weather gods were not smiling, and by Saturday morning, the Jura hills were once again swathed in grey. Visibility was going to be poor, and the difficulty of navigating one’s way about the paps would be considerably increased..

At Craighouse on Saturday morning I heard many dark mutterings of the third pap, which, with a sheer precipice on one side, poses particular navigational challenges on descent. We were all hoping that the participants didn’t take this advice literally.

Despite the weather, both runners and supporters seemed upbeat. . . .

and then they were off!

According to Tom, he was making good going, until he made the fatal mistake of following a local boy, who had chosen a particularly bizarre boulder-strewn route for one descent. Tom tripped and gashed his shin, and then lost time correcting the navigational error. From this point on, things got rather grueling, but he still did great. Here he comes, approaching the finish line 4 hours 48 minutes later!

18 minutes better than last year! Huzzah!

These are the tags that the runners hand in at each navigational checkpoint and, as you can see, Tom’s race number was 98. This is the number he chose for the winner in the Mini-Manu draw, who, after eliminating my own comments, those who had left more than one, and those who did not wish to be entered, is Margaret. Well done Margaret! I have sent you an email asking for your address. Yarn and pattern are now Yours! And the Mini-Manu pattern is now available, from ravelry or the designs page. By the time you read this, I’ll be off down the hospital. Thanks for all your support and kind wishes, as always.