Southern Hebrides - Day 5 - TayinLoan to Craighouse Isle of Jura
- Distance 34km
- Max Elevation 125m
Southern Hebrides - TayinLoan to Craighouse Isle of Jura Ride Profile
After a hearty breakfast we set off to catch the mid morning ferry from Kennacraig for the 2 hour journey to Port Askaig on the Isle of Islay. After a wee stop there we took the short crossing across to Jura for the lovely ride to Craighouse, the only significant settlement on the Island and home of the Jura Single Malt distillery. Unfortunately due to the drought throughout the islands, the distillery was not producing any whiskey so we couldn't sample the nectar. It was a little early to go to our accommodation so instead we enjoyed a pint in the local hotel.
The name of the Island is understood to derive from the Norse, meaning "Deer Island". Today there are over 5500 farmed deer on the Island.
We sought out our accommodation Sealladh Na Mara, run by Linda and Iain Mullholand. Another great find. We had booked an evening meal and it was downed with ghusto, (and a drop of red wine).
We had booked for two nights. The next day Krys and Phil decided to take it easy, spending time around the bay and relaxing.
Steve and Karen couldn't stay put and headed off to look at the Northern part of Jura. The day before we had heard that the road North eventually petered out into a track that was very muddy and unridable. This was a real disappointment as at the very North of the Island, lay The Correyvrecken Whirlpool. This amazing natural phenomenon is caused by the massive tidal flow that runs between Jura and Scarba and is not to be missed - but we missed it!
George Orwell (aka Eric Blair) lived at Barnhill from 1946 to 1948 while he wrote his novel "1984". One day in 1947 he went sailing with his nephews and nieces and fell foul of the Whirlpool. The boat was wrecked and they were all lucky to survive with their lives.
It was a lovely ride up the single track coast road, which rises up past the famous "Jura Paps".
The Paps dominate the landscape and comprise the three mountains - Beinn an Oir (Mountain of Gold) at 785m, Beinn Shiantaidh (Sacred Mountain) at 757m and Beinn a' Chaolais (Mountain of Sound) at 569m.
The appearance of the Paps is unique. Greys whites, purples, greens and browns play with the light to form an unusual colouring of these stunning hills.
If you fancy a challenging walk you have almost total access to walk over the Paps, as long as it isn't stalking season.
On the way we saw several herds of deer...
When we had gone as far as we could go we headed back and stopped on the way at Tarbet. Tarbet used to be a port until a few years ago with a regular ferry coming over from the mainland, but it has long since stopped.
We sat on the side of the harbour in total peace and quite. A solitary seal swept into the bay and bobbed its head up to see what we were up to. After a few minutes of curiosity he dived down and headed off.
As we sat there we spied a number of tiny, transparent jelly fish rising and falling in the crystal clear water. They were so delicate and perfect in ever way. Jura certainly got our vote for the most beautiful island in the Southern Hebrides.
Tarbet Jetty jura
When we arrived back in Craighouse Phil and Krys told of an exhibition of photographs dating back to the 20th century in a building around the back of the chapel. The exhibition was free and worth a look. Later in the evening we walked down to the bay north of Craighouse and watched seals and cormorants on the beach.
On the morning of the third day on Jura we had planned to stop at Jura House on our way to the Ferry. The house was built in the 1880s by the Campbel's of Jura. Today the gardens of the house are open to the public with stunning views towards the Kintyre Peninsula. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain and the thought of trailing around a garden no matter how pretty did not appeal to us, so we got our heads down and dashed for the ferry.
For us, Jura was the prettiest and most enjoyable part of our Southern Hebrides ride.
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