Brian Turner, aka islayfisher, travelled to Islay with his fly fishing friends for their annual trip. This was their 20th year, 18 of which have been on Islay with occasional forays onto Jura too.
Brian Turner in the North of Jura
Arriving the week before Feis Ile the guys were quickly on the waters of Loch Gorm on the sunday taking out the boats of Jim McHarrie at Ballinaby. The day was to be quite benign by Loch Gorm standards and trout were taken and returned quite freely up to 1lb. The days fishing and start of the week activities were toasted with a dram of the Kilchoman new bottling “Loch Gorm” which seemed appropriate.
The ATV at Loch Bhurra
On the following day the lads were up early to catch the first Jura ferry which was to take them onto the island and up the road the 25 miles or so to Ardlussa Estate. On arriving at Ardlussa House a great welcome was given by hosts Andy and Claire Fletcher and an introduction to their guide for the day, Head Stalker Ewen MacInnes. After a quick coffee in the house Ewen set off up the road with the guys following until the end of the “official” road was reached. Gear and food was then transferred onto the ATV for the journey further up the track and then off over the wild hilly terrain of the northern most part of Jura. The journey was to a group of lochs towards the western side of Jura with views over to Glengarrisdale Bay and indeed north to Scarba and Corryvreckan.
The first port of call was on Loch a Bhurra where after an hour or so a number of small trout had been caught and returned by all of the team. From there a cast on a small lochan brought more success and the mist was beginning to lift and the sunshine brought out the splendour of this north Jura landscape. Lunch beckoned and Ewan suggested moving up to the high ground of nearby Clachaig Mhor to enjoy the views and the fantastic venison pasties supplied by Claire Fletcher. What a delight to take lunch and a sloe gin whilst watching Scarba appear from the mist into beautiful sunshine. Continue Reading »
Over the years my wife and I, and in the last three years also our wee daughter, visited the Isle of Jura dozens of times. And on each occasion I took a lot of pictures of the beautiful scenery, the wildlife and everything else this fascinating island has to offer. On the Jura Info website you can find many pictures of our trips and also on our Jura Blog which has a few interesting galleries.
Recently I started a Photo Blog with pictures from the Isle of Islay and since I have thousands of pictures taken on Jura I decided to start a second Photo Blog dedicated to Jura. That way I can upload pictures on a regular basis and share the magic with you all. The Photo Blog is based on Tumblr, a very popular blogging service with excellent facilities for photographers. To avoid a “difficult” url I registered the domain www.jurapictures.co.uk which points to my new Photo Blog.
Using the blog is pretty much straight forward. There is a button below the current picture where you can select the previously posted images. There is also an archive link which shows all the previously posted images and there is an RSS Feed available if you like to follow the updates on your reader. The updates by the way will also be tweeted on the @jura_scotland twitter timeline. Enjoy the pictures and thanks for visiting my new blog on www.jurapictures.co.uk
Giles Perring has been running Sound of Jura, a recording studio and music production house on Jura since 2005. Giles has produced a World Music Charts number 1 at the studio & received a Music Producers Guild award nomination in 2012. Giles has played key roles in the annual music festival for several years. 2011 saw the first of Giles’ ‘Sound of Jura presents…’ live events, including concerts by Chasing Owls, Panda Su & Aaron Jonah Lewis.
Now Sound of Jura presents the first of their 2013 events at Jura Hall in April. Kris Drever with Éamonn Coyne and Karl Culley will bring their distinctive sounds to the Isle of Jura on Saturday 13 April, continuing the successful series of concerts promoted the by the local music studio.
Kris Drever is widely known as the guitarist and singer in LAU, who picked up their 3rd BBC Folk Award at Celtic Connections last month. His duo with Eamonn Coyne is a well established pairing, which won huge critical acclaim for the 2007 album ‘Honk Toot Suite’. In February, they announced the release of their new album ‘Storymap’ on Reveal Records.
Continue Reading »
On Jura recently, they’ve been hearing voices of friends who have passed on. The oral history project that is currently running on the island has gained access to cassette tapes made in the early 1990s, featuring some of the icons of previous generations. Gordon Wright, keen local historian once of the Jura Hotel, and Dr Joan Johnson, herself a well-loved character, had the foresight to make personal recordings of the older members of the community in conversation about their lives and experiences. With the technology available to the ‘Jura Lives’ project, thanks to funding from Argyll & the Islands’ 2007-13 LEADER, the Heritage Lottery and the Jura Development Trust, the tapes have been digitised. They will be made public when the full archive is launched next Autumn.
“It’s great to have this material alongside the new recordings, giving more historical depth.” says Jane Carswell, project officer for Jura Lives. “There’s something about people’s voices that really hits you in the heart.” Many thanks to Carol Wright, Felicity Johnson and the next of kin of the contributors who have allowed these precious recordings to be heard again.
This story was published with kind permission of the Ileach Newspaper
Last month I wrote about the Jura Shop. The current owners, Steve and Bev Martin, were looking for ways to sell the shop but there was no interested buyer. This could potentially become a serious situation, or better a disaster, if the Isle of Jura wouldn’t have a shop anymore. The nearest shops are on the Isle of Islay, in Port Askaig, Bridgend and Bowmore. That’s a lengthy drive from Craighouse and even worse for people who live north of Craighouse. That’s why the residents started an initiative for a buy-out so they could become the owners and keep the shop open. Today Herald Scotland wrote on their website that the residents on the Islay voted in favour of the buy-out. A quote:
Some 173 inhabitants were entitled to vote. A total of 139 exercised that right, with one spoilt paper, 31 votes against the idea and 107 votes, 76.9%, in favour. They approached the community-led Jura Development Trust, which has applied successfully to Scottish ministers to exercise a Community Right to Buy under land reform legislation. The Scottish Government appointed an independent valuer who has put a price of £95,000 on the business. The community has already received development funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Big Lottery to work on the shop project, and the islanders are desperately hoping that these bodies will help fund the purchase now, as widely expected, the community has voted to proceed.
Rev Dr Rob Barlow, Donald L MacKinnon, Argyll Presbyter Moderator, Rev Dr Roddy MacLeod, and Rev Dr Kenneth Ross.
The island parish of Jura is now triple-linked with the Islay parishes
of Kilarrow and Kildalton and Oa following a special service conducted by members of the Argyll Presbytery in Jura Parish Church on September 26. This service also marked the introduction to the Jura charge of the Rev Dr Rob Barlow who also serves a parish minister at Kilarrow linked with Kildalton and Oa.
The service was attended by worshippers from the 3 parishes involved as well as representatives from the Argyll Presbytery. The diet of worship included the Narrative, the Preamble and Introduction Vows, the Declaration of Linkage, Signing of the Formula and questions and charges to the minister and the Jura congregation.
Representing the Presbytery was its Moderator Donald L MacKinnon (Kilmore and Oban), the Rev Dr Kenneth Ross, (Netherlorn), and the Rev Dr Roddy MacLeod, formerly of Cumlodden, and current editor of the Life and Work Gaelic supplement ‘Na Duilleagan Gàidhlig’.
Pre-service lunch was enjoyed at the Antlers Bistro as was the hospitality of the Jura congregation.
The only road on Jura, from Feolin to “Road End” beyond Ardlussa, is never far from the southern and eastern shore of the Island. The sea in the south is called “The Sound of Islay” and the sea between the Isle of Jura and Kintyre on the mainland is called “The Sound of Jura”. The distance between the two is 25km in the south, between Craighouse and Kilberry, and 10km in the north, between Barnhill and Crinan. The road on Jura offers not only stunning views of the island itself but you get to see amazing views over the sea towards the mainland. The colours of the water change constantly and with every season. In the winter you can often see the snow on the hills in the Highlands. From a weather point of view it’s a fabulous road as well, especially with rapidly changing conditions when showers come and go. You might not like the rain but the views over the sea towards the passing showers is magnificent as you can see in the pictures below taken a few weeks ago.
Rain Shower arrives from the west over the Sound of Jura
Close up of the Rain Shower
The Rain Shower has passed
The sun is back
The average day tripper to the Isle of Jura will probably never make it much further then Craighouse, Lagg or Tarbert and why should they with so much stunning scenery to be enjoyed. There are some however that go as far as Lussagiven or Ardlussa over the “Long Road” but when the first gate appears just beyond Ardlussa people consider this the end of the road and head back. Understandable, the quality of the road isn’t that great and you never know if it’s permitted to cross the first gate after Ardlussa let alone the two other gates that you have to pass on your way to Lealt and beyond. It is at Lealt, well half a mile further after the bridge, that you are no longer allowed to travel on by car and it is also here where you’ll find a wee parking space for a few cars and that’s it. End of Road. Well more or less, the road changes into a track called “the path to Corryvreckan”. There is a sign that says “Road End” and another sign with Barnhill 4 miles, Kinuachdrachd 5 miles and Corryvreckan 7 miles, on foot that is, unless you have arranged transport via the estate. It’s really no use to continue further north by car, the track is of a poor quality and there is a chain across the track attached to poles with a padlock.
Approaching the End of the Road in North Jura
North Jura and the track to Barnhill (right)
The more adventurous are likely to head on and continue to Barnhill to have a peek at the cottage where George Orwell wrote his famous novell 1984, which he did in the years 1946 to 1948. If you do belong to the the George Orwell fans and make the pilgrimage to Barnhill don’t forget that it’s a holiday cottage now and its visitors are likely not that keen to have folk staring through the windows, it’s the privacy and solitude why they probably rented the cottage in the first place! From Barnhill it’s a few miles more north to the Corryvreckan whirlpool between the north end of Jura and the Isle of Scarba. This part of Jura, together with the western half of the island, is one of the more remote parts of Scotland and a walk on the track from the parking space after Lealt bridge towards Barnhill is something very special. It’s here that you really are in the middle of nowhere. There are no nearby pubs, no farms, no people and there is no mobile phone signal. There is just you, the stunning scenery, the total silence, the views over the Sound of Jura and a whole lot of flora and fauna to enjoy including Red Deer and Eagles. Come prepared though, the weather can be treacherous and out here you are really on your own! Enjoy!
North Jura and the view over the Sound of Jura
Herald Scotland online newspaper published an article about a possible buyout of the island’s only shop, Jura Stores in Craighouse, to secure it’s future. The current owners have run it since 1990 and have been trying to sell the business. According to the article the shop owners find it increasingly difficult to keep the shop open and despite advertising it for sale there was no interest so far. The history of Jura Stores goes back to the 1890′s and it will be quite a blow for the island if the shop would close permanently. Mind you, alternatives are on the neighbouring Isle of Islay, in Port Askaig, and further away in Bridgend and Bowmore. All three require a lengthy 10 mile journey from Craighouse to Feolin and a ferry crossing to Port Askaig. That is why the 200 residents of Jura are mounting a community buyout in a bid to secure the future of the island’s only shop. A quote from the article:
Now they have approached the community-led Jura Development Trust, who have applied successfully to Scottish ministers to exercise a Community Right to Buy under land reform legislation. A price will be set by an independent valuer, and islanders balloted. Peter Wotherspoon, secretary of the Jura Development Trust, said: “It is absolutely vital we secure the shop. Imagine what it would like to lose our only shop. The next one is at Bowmore on Islay, a drive and a ferry journey away. “I have done it by public transport and it takes five hours there and back. That’s from Craighouse, but more than half Jura’s population live further north.” He said they were working closely with the shop’s owners, Steve and Beth Martin, but the community had made clear they were desperate to keep the shop open. So they were already talking to Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the National Lottery and other funding bodies.
You can follow updated on the shop buy out via Facebook. Please visit www.facebook.com/JuraCommunityStores and “like” the local shop. Thanks!
Jura Standing Stone 30 year old Single Malt Whisky
The Isle of Jura Whisky Distillery in Craighouse has released a 30 year old single malt whisky to their collection and it’s called the Standing Stone or ‘Camas an Staca’ in Gaelic. The whisky takes its name from the largest of Jura’s eight standing stones which are scattered over the island. The stone in question is said to be the one remaining stone of an earlier formed stone circle some 3,000 years ago.
Jura distillery manager, Willie Cochrane said; “The standing stones have mysteriously stood the test of time on the island, so it’s only fitting that we create an aged whisky in their honour. The whisky’s long maturation in American white oak gives the spirit a quiet serenity, whilst its three years spent finessing in the finest Oloroso Sherry butts from Gonzalez Byass gives this spirit a commanding finish.”
The iconic Jura bottle is presented in a beautiful display case that opens its doors to showcase the bottle and reveal the story of the whisky. Meticulously detailed, the bottle is in-filled with copper wax, with a matching metal plaque. According to the press release the nose reveals the seductive nuances of sandalwood, tuberose, lime and spicy patchouli soon usher in hints of vanilla, Java coffee, tangerine and crushed Ogen melon. Whispers of sea spray, spicy apple and honeyed figs linger in the background. The taste is described as fleshy oranges, tangy liquorice, coconut and sweet pineapple are followed by orange rind, black cherries, dark toffee and sun dried raisins.
A bottle of 30 year old standing stone, 44% abv, will set you back £350 and will be for purchase in selected whisky stores only.