Antipole cruises

The Isle of Jura

We had a magnificent sail out from Crinan, with a reach down the Sound of Jura.  We were surrounded by distant mountains on all sides – varying shades of blue and purple under blue sky.  It was one of those sails that makes up for all those times we have drifted around in drizzle.
We came to the island of Jura and anchored in the northern corner of Loch na Mile on the east coast, where we were treated to the most incredible skies and sunset.

Jura is a large island 24 x 6 nm with seven paps [mountain peaks] formed of quartzite.  It is perhaps the wildest of the Inner Herbrides and populated only on the east coast.  There are less than two hundred inhabitants, outnumbered 30:1 by 5-6000 red deer.  There is no regular direct ferry service to the main land – instead it is necessary to cross to neighbouring Islay to take the ferry from there.  We wondered what had happened in the UK elections, but with absolutely no communications – no mobile signal and not even broadcast radio, we had to wait.  The political bickering in Westminster seems completely irrelevant from here.  Even if you decided to write to your MP it might be a slow process – we read that outside of Craighouse the post is collected once per week.  It was to a farmhouse just near here that George Orwell withdrew from the world in 1948 to write 1984.

On Saturday we sailed down Loch na Mile to Craighouse, the sole habitation.  Here most things rely on volunteers to staff things like the one shop.  On the day of our visit things were relatively busy – the community had organised an event running up the peaks and the village was busy with runners and event marshals etc. and there were many tents in the field below the hotel.
Neighbouring Islay is famed for its seven whisky distilleries, whose products are typically somewhat smokey/peaty.   Craighouse is home to Jura’s single distillery and we paid a visit, and sampled five of its products before selecting a couple of souvenir bottles.

Raised beach in Loch Tabert

On Sunday we sailed down to the southern tip of Jura and then through the Sound of Islay to reach Jura’s west coast.  It was a beat through the sound but with five to six knots of tide behind us we were soon through.  On the west coast we entered Loch Tarbert [yes – another Tarbert].  This loch penetrates almost right through to the east coast and is a maze of channels.  The loch has many raised beaches – banks of smooth pebbles some way up the hillsides.  We understand that they have not been washed up by some past storm but have lain there undisturbed for some 10,000 years.  After the weight of the retreating ice was removed, the land heaved up leaving the beaches well above sea level.

Superb anchorage in Loch Tarbert

 We managed to reach right into the innermost part and found a glorious and completely sheltered anchorage with mountain views on all sides and where we stayed for a couple of days. Here is complete solitude.
From here we sail for the Isles of  Oransay and Colonsay.
That’s the news for now.
love Tony & Ynskje

One thought on “The Isle of Jura

  1. Liz Pill

    What super skies – incredible. I am very pleased that you are sampling the whisky and hope I might have a try of one of your souvenirs some time!! Liz x

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