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.
Although the fourth largest the Inner Hebrides it only has a population of less than 200 people, most who live at the southern end of the island and in the main village of Craighouse 16 miles south of Lussagiven. It has the only hotel, bar and shop on the island, as well as the famous Isle of Jura Distillery.
Along Jura's west coast, which can only be accessed by boat or on foot, are the finest examples of raised beaches found anywhere in the world. When the ice melted 10,000 years ago the land rose, relieved of the weight of the ice. In Jura the old coast was left marooned up to 120 feet (40 metres) above the sea. As a result, no other coast has so many arches, caves and raised beaches as the west side of Jura. There are about 50 very large caves, some of which were used as mortuaries before the bodies were shipped across to Iona for burial.
The Corryvreckan Whirlpool is at the North end of Jura, 9 miles from Otter Cottage. It is said to be the third largest whirlpool in the world . Although not, as is sometimes believed, formally classified by the Royal Navy as unnavigable , they do refer to it as "very violent and dangerous" and says "no vessel should then attempt this passage without local knowledge”.
The beautiful Paps of Jura, whose name very aptly describes their shape, dominate not only the island itself, but also the views from miles around. The highest is Beinn an Oir (784m), then Beinn Shiantaidh (755m) and Beinn a’Chaolais (734m). Bring strong walking boots and climb to the summit to enjoy spectacular views to Islay, Colonsay, Mull, Scarba and Northern Ireland. To climb all three in a day takes 8-9 hours.
Jura is perhaps best known for its red deer population (6000) which can often be photographed at close range right outside Otter Cottage. Grey seals can also be seen basking on the rocky islands in Lussagiven Bay. The beautiful and entertaining otter is fairly widespread on Jura and there are reputed to be a pair of otters for every three miles of coastline. Dolphins and porpoises can be sighted off the shore on the waters around Jura often chasing fish in the sound between Jura and Islay. Small wild goats, supposedly descendants of those on ships wrecked from the Spanish Armada abound along the west coast of Jura. Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles and Hen Harriers can also be spotted on the island.