Isle of Jura

Craighouse from the pier

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

Understand

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). 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 2,500 feet (762 m). The west coast of Jura is currently uninhabited but is home to a number of raised beaches.

A single-track A-class road stretches from Feolin Ferry in the south west of the island and follows the coastline to Craighouse, the island's main settlement. This is where you will find the island's only shop, 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.

The same road continues past Craighouse and northwards through the smaller settlements of Lagg, Tarbet 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 George Orwell lived towards the end of his life and where he wrote his pessimistic novel about the future, Nineteen Eighty-Four, from 1947 to 1948 despite being seriously ill. 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.

Get in

The main road through Craighouse

By boat

Direct routes to Jura

The seasonal Jura Passenger Ferry runs from Tayvallich on the mainland (around 2.5 hours drive from Glasgow) to Craighouse on Jura, taking around 45min to an hour to complete the crossing and linking up with buses to Lochgilphead. The ferry runs from Easter to the end of September with two crossings a day 6 days a week, including weekends. Booking in advance is required (+44 7768 450000). One-way tickets cost £20 (bicycles can be taken for free but should be mentioned when calling).

In addition, a few of 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.

Routes via Islay to Jura

Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) runs a number of vehicle ferries each day between Kennacraig (on the Kintyre peninsula, around 2.5 – 3 hours drive from Glasgow) 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.

Flybe operates two return flights per day (one on Sundays) between Glasgow International Airport and Islay - public transport runs from the airport to Port Askaig.

A small car ferry, operated by ASP Ship Management (+44 1496 840681), runs across the Sound of Islay between Port Askaig on Islay and Feolin Ferry on Jura. Passenger return tickets cost £14.50 and cars cost £9.05. From Feolin Ferry it is 8 miles to the island's main settlement, Craighouse.

Get around

By bus

Jura lacks good public transport because of its remote nature. However, the public bus service 456 operated by Garelochhead Coaches (+44 1436 810200) runs between Feolin and Craighouse up to five times a day and also points further north in the island twice a day (more during school terms). The bus operates only on request for some journeys, such as the Thursday only bus to Bowmore on Islay, so you must book in advance for those journeys. It may be possible to book the bus for private hire.

By car

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.

By foot

Jura is great for walkers.

By bicycle

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

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 rely on getting a lift.

See

Isle of Jura distillery

Do

Buy

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.