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Isle of Jura

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Hebrides : Inner Hebrides : Isle of Jura
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Craighouse, the main settlement on Jura.

The Isle of Jura is one of the Inner Hebrides, off the south-west coast of Scotland.

Understand[edit]

Jura, though fairly large in size, is a sparsely populated island with a population of approximately 200 people.

Jura has a large population of red deer (it is commonly believed that the name 'Jura' was derived from 'hjörtr', the Old Norse word for deer). Much of the island is designated as a National Scenic Area and is dominated by three conical mountains known as the Paps of Jura which rise to over 2500 feet (762 m). The west coast of Jura is currently uninhabited but is home to a number of raised beaches.

Craighouse is the island's main settlement. This is where you will find the island's only shop (run by Spar), hotel and pub. This is also where you will find the only two places to eat out on the island - the Jura Hotel and the Antlers Bistro. The village of Craighouse is also home to the island's only distillery and only functioning church.

Get in[edit]

Jura's nearest city is Glasgow.

Direct routes to Jura[edit]

A seasonal fast passenger ferry [1] runs from Tayvallich on the mainland (around 2.5 hours drive from Glasgow) to Craighouse on Jura, taking around 45 mins to an hour to complete the crossing and often linking up with West Coast Motors [2] buses from Lochgilphead. The ferry runs from Easter to the end of September with up to two crossings daily except Wednesdays. Advance booking is compulsory; tickets cost £20 each way.

In addition, a few licensed boat owners provide a private water taxi service from the Tayvallich and Crinan area, who will drop you at various points on the island.

Via Islay[edit]

Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) [3] runs a number of vehicle ferries per day between Kennacraig (on the Kintyre peninsula, around 105 miles from Glasgow and 6 miles south of Tarbert) to Port Askaig or Port Ellen on Islay. Vehicle bookings should be made in advance as these sailings are often fully booked. The crossing takes 2 hours to Port Askaig and 2 hours and 10 minutes to Port Ellen.

For those arriving by bus, the Kennacraig ferry terminal is served by the Citylink [4] 926 service linking Glasgow with Campbeltown, and the West Coast Motors [5] 448 service linking Lochgilphead and/or Tarbert with Claonaig (for Arran) and Skipness. In addition, an infrequent West Coast Motors bus, service 449 (Lochgilphead - Campbeltown), stops at the end of the causeway linking the A83 with the ferry terminal.

CalMac also operate ferries from Oban and Colonsay to Port Askaig on Wednesdays between March and October.

Flybe [6] operates two return flights per day (one on Sundays) from Glasgow International Airport to Islay, and Hebridean Air Services [7] operate two return flights per week from Oban to Islay via Colonsay. Public transport runs from the airport to Port Askaig.

A small car ferry operates across the Sound of Islay between Port Askaig on Islay and Feolin Ferry on Jura. The ferry runs roughly hourly from 6AM to 6:30PM every day [8] (though Sundays have reduced hours). The ferry often leaves up to 15 minutes before the scheduled time, so get there early! From Feolin Ferry it is 8 miles to the island's main settlement, Craighouse.

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

Jura lacks good public transport because of its remote nature and few roads. A public bus operated by Garelochhead Coaches [9] does run between Feolin and Craighouse up to four times a day, with some journeys extending to Inverlussa and/or Lagg. The bus operates only on request for some journeys, notably the 0725 from Craighouse to Feolin on school holidays and Saturdays, so you must book in advance for those journeys. It may be possible to book the bus for private hire.

By road[edit]

Many visitors to Jura bring private cars over via the Kennacraig/Islay and Port Askaig/Feolin ferries. It is also possible to hire cars on Islay. Don't be fooled by the fact that there is no posted speed limit - you cannot reach over 40 miles an hour due to factors such as the number of bends in the road and the wild animals wandering in the road.

A single-track A-class road stretches from Feolin to Craighouse and beyond. The road continues past Craighouse and heads northwards through the smaller settlements of Lagg, Tarbert and Ardlussa and provides some stunning views of the Paps and Jura's rugged coastline.

In Ardlussa, the road splits. The right fork takes you to the hamlet of Inverlussa, where it is possible to wild camp. The left fork takes you past a sign which says 'End of Public Road 3 miles'. A private vehicle track runs from the road end to the far north of the island. This track passes Barnhill, where the writer George Orwell lived towards the end of his life and where he wrote his famous novel 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. This track provides the best access to a footpath leading to view of the Corryvrekkan whirlpool which lies between the northern tip of Jura and the island of Scarba. (Note that it's a 7-8 mile hike from the end of the road to the view of the whirlpool.)

By bike[edit]

Cycling is a popular way to see the island and bikes can either be brought on the ferry or hired from the Jura Hotel. The island's only road is single-track and hilly in places and it can be frustrating to be progressing slowly but steadily uphill only to have to pull over when you meet a car.

By thumb[edit]

It's said that hitch-hiking always comes with a risk, but Jura is probably one of the safest places in the world for this. The biggest risk generally is that you won't see another soul, especially away from Craighouse, so don't bank on it.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Isle of Jura Distillery in Craighouse, Jura's main settlement. Handily located just across the road from the pub.
  • Jura House Gardens at Ardfin, in the south of the island.
  • Attend a Ceilidh in Craighouse village hall. Over the summer months, if you visit Jura during a weekend you're more likely than not to find some form of Saturday night entertainment. The most common even is a ceilidh, where locals and visitors of all ages enthusiastically take to the floor for a 'wee dance'. Ceilidhs take place all year round and occasionally include a bar.
  • Jura music festival, craighouse, [10]. Held on the last weekend of September, 3 days of traditional music and dance.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Jura Stores the island's only shop may be small but it offers a wide range of food and non-food items including everything from fresh bread to fuses and fishing rods.
  • Jura Hotel may only have a 'gifts cabinet' but they manage to pack in lots of items - from postcards to jewellery and tea towels to hip flasks.
  • Jura Distillery shop, craighouse. Jura distillary shop selling normal Jura whisky and limited edition specials. Additionally sells many Jura whisky themed merchandise.  edit
  • The Antlers, craighouse, [11]. Sells collection of local arts and crafts. Can have a cup of coffee while browsing  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Jura Hotel, Craighouse, Tel: +44 1496 820243. Has a good menu using local produce and all of the eating areas (dining room, lounge bar and bar) have beautiful views across Small Isles Bay.
  • The Tea Tent, Jura House Gardens, Ardfin. Operating in the summer only the tea tent in the gardens at Jura house offers home baking and beverages in a beautiful setting.
  • The Antlers, Craighouse, +44 1496 820123, [12]. 9.30AM to 9.00PM. Bistro restaurant offering tea, coffee, home baking and freshly produced, locally sourced food. Booking advisable for evening as only seats 24. Great decked area to watch the world go but while having lunch. Also sells local crafts, and has a local heritage display ain the entrance delving into the history and customs of Jura. As of August 2012, they only serve dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, and that's only if at least 8 people have made reservations.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Jura Hotel, Craighouse, Tel: +44 1496 820243. Again, the only place to drink on the island is the Jura Hotel, but you can choose between the lounge bar and public bar. The bar is the centre of the island's social life and can be a great place to meet locals, although it can get very busy during annual events or on the night of a ceilidh.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Barnhill, the house where George Orwell wrote 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'

A selection of bed & breakfast and self catering accommodation can be found online with Jura Development [13]. In addition:

  • Jura Hotel, Craighouse, Tel: +44 1496 820243.A small, family-run hotel in the heart of Jura's main village.
  • Barnhill, the remote house where George Orwell wrote 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', can be rented by the week. It is difficult to reach without a Land Rover or boat, and potential guests are advised that there is no electricity supply and few creature comforts. [14] or tel: +44 1786 850274.
  • Camping The Jura Hotel provides camping in a scenic field situated between the hotel and the shore. Campers use toilets and showers at the hotel. No charge, but donations are accepted in the hotel bar. There are also many places on the island where you can wild camp, including Corran Sands (two miles north of Craighouse), and Inverlussa (3/4 of a mile outside Ardlussa), which is an excellent place due to its flat and large open areas. Take some midge/mosquito repellent - you will need it!

Contact[edit]

Get out[edit]



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