The wild and beautiful Isle of Jura offers some of the most dramatic scenery anywhere in Scotland. The special qualities that Jura has to offer will provide an unforgettable experience.
Jura gets the full benefit of the Gulf Stream, and has a drier and milder climate than most of the Hebrides. In this mild climate palm trees and fuchsias flourish, and many plants from warmer climes grow in the gardens of Jura House.
The main settlement, Craighouse, nestles at the SW corner of a large bay sheltered from the open sea by the Small Isles. Dominating the view are the conical forms of the Paps of Jura, a group of three aptly named steep-sided hills on the West side of the island, rise to over 2,500ft. The Paps can be seen from the Mull of Kintyre and, on a clear day, Skye and Northern Ireland. The route of the annual Isle of Jura Fell Race includes all three Paps and four other hills. Bring stout boots and carry water if you want to ascend their rugged slopes; it is hard going, but the views from thesummits are spectacular.
The west coast of Jura is wild and rugged with no permanent habitation. Much of this coastline consists of raised beaches. Along this peaceful and beautiful desolation of arches, sea-caves and rugged seashore are many large caves, some of which were used as mortuaries before the bodies were taken to Iona for burial.
The Gulf of Corryvreckan (from the Gaelic Coire Bhreacain meaning "cauldron of the speckled seas" or "cauldron of the plaid") is a narrow strait between Jura and the island of Scarba to the North. A powerful whirlpool forms at some states of the tide which some believe was the inspiration for Scilla and Charybdis in The Odyssey.
Red Deer outnumber people 30-1 on Jura, and can be seen everywhere grazing on the mountain flanks and valley slopes. Aerial residents include golden eagles, sea eagles, hen harriers and buzzards. With a wide variety of habitats from bogs and heather to woodlands and coastal grassland and sandy beaches Jura is a bird watcher's paradise with over 100 species on the island at any time of the year. On the shoreline seals bask in the sun, and at dawn or dusk you may spot the elusive otter.
The Isle of Jura distillery at Craighouse produces a distinctive malt whisky very different in character from its peaty islay neighbours. The current distillery was opened in 1963, offering new employment and a chance for the island to prosper.
Towards the north end of Jura, some miles beyond the end of the metalled road, is Barnhill, a remote house where the novelist George Orwell spent much of the last three years of his life. Orwell was known to the residents of Jura by his real name, Eric Blair. It was at Barnhill that Orwell finished Nineteen Eighty-Four, during 1947–1948 while critically ill with tuberculosis.