Jura, Scotland

Jura ( / dʒ ʊər ə / joor -ə ; Scottish Gaelic : Diùra [tʲuːɾə] ) is an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, adjacent to and to the north-east of Islay . Compared with its fertile and more populous neighbor, the Jura is mountainous, bare and infertile, covered largely by large areas of blanket bog , hence its small population. In the list of the islands of Scotland , Jura comes eighth. It is in the Argyll and Bute area .


The modern name Jura dates from the Norse-Gael era . Two different Old Norse words have been suggested:

  • Dyroy , meaning beast [wild animal] island . Although the element dyr is cognate to the English word deer (Old English dēor ), historically that word also meant to be beaten in general; the original English word for the animal now called Expired a deer Was Actually heort (equivalent to Old Norse hjarta ), ie. hart (as, for example in the pub name the white hart ). Modern English is unique among the Germanic languages in the field of deerto the animal antler-bearing (in Modern Dutch, for example, dier means animal ).
  • Jur , meaning udder , in reference to the Paps of Jura .

The lath is possibility Generally Ruled out, as the name of the island Was Recorded in 678 have Doraid Eilinn (Essentially the gaelic for Dyrøy island , THUS tautologously beast-island island ).


With an area of ​​36,692 hectares, or 142 square miles (368 km 2 ), and only 196 inhabitants recorded in the 2011 census, [2] Jura is much more sparsely populated than neighboring Islay , and is one of the least densely populated islands of Scotland . Census records show that Jura’s population peaked at 1,312 in 1831, [5] and that, in common with many areas of western Scotland, the island’s population declined steadily over the ensuing decades. However, there has been a small increase since 2001. [6] During the decade from 2001 to 2011 Scottish island populations as a whole grew by 4% to 103,702. [7]Alongside the long-term decline in Jura’s population has been declining in the number of Gaelic speakers. The 1881 census reported that 86.6% (out of 946 inhabitants) spoke Gaelic. In 1961, for the first time less than half (46.9%) spoke the language and by 2001, this figure had dropped to 10.6%.

The main settlement is the village of Craighouse on the east coast. Craighouse is home to the Jura distillery , producing Isle of Jura single malt whiskey. [8] The village is also home to the hotel, shop and church .

Between the northern tip of Jura and the island of Scarba lies the Gulf of Corryvreckan , WHERE a whirlpool Makes dangerous passing at some states of the tide . The southern part of the island, from Loch Tarbert southwards, is one of 40 National Scenic Areas in Scotland. [9]


The isle of Jura is composed largely of Dalradian quartzite , a hard metamorphic rock that provides the jagged surface of the Paps. Throughout the western half of the island the quartzite has-been penetrated by a number of linear basalt dikes qui Were FORMED During a period of intense volcanic activity in the Lower Tertiary period, some 56 million years ago. These dikes are most apparent on the west coast, where erosion of the less-resistant rock in which they are intruded has left them exposed as natural walls. The west coast aussi: has a number of raised beaches , qui are Regarded as a geological feature of international importance. [10]

Paps of Jura

The island is dominated by three steep-sided conical quartzite mountains on its western side – the Paps of Jura – which rise to 2.575 feet (785 m). There are three major peaks:

  • Beinn an Òir (Gaelic: mountain of gold ) is the highest peak, standing at 2,575 feet (785 m), and is thus a Corbett .
  • Beinn Shiantaidh (Gaelic: holy mountain ) stands at 2,477 feet (755 m) high.
  • Beinn a ‘Chaolais (Gaelic: mountain of the kyle ) is the highest of the Paps, reaching 2,408 feet (734 m). [11]

The Paps dominate the landscape in the region and can be seen from the Mull of Kintyre , Skye and Northern Ireland . The road of the annual Isle of Jura Fell Papes and four other hills.

These hills were the subject of William McTaggart’s 1902 painting The Papes of Jura , [12] now displayed in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum . [13]


Early years

Evidence of settlements on Jura dating from the Mesolithic period was first uncovered by the English archaeologist John Mercer in the 1960s. There is evidence of Neolithic settlement at Poll Cheo in the southwest of the island.

Jura is closer to Ulster than Glasgow , so it should not be unexpected that the Irish crossed the straits of Moyle and established the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata . It was divided into a handful of regions, controlled by particular kin groups, of which Cenel nóengusa controlled Jura and Islay.

The kingdom for a few centuries, and a springboard for Christianisation of the mainland. It is believed that Jura may have been Hinba , the island to which the sixth century missionary, Columba , retreated from the monastic community he founded on Iona , when he wished for a more contemplative life [14] .


Dál Riata was invaluable when they were invaded, and established their own domain , spreading extensively over the mainland, including Jura. This became the Kingdom of the Isles , but following the unification of Norway , the city was held under the leadership of the Norwegian authorities, like Godred Crovan . Following Godred’s death, the local population resisted Norway’s choice of replacement, Magnus, the Norwegian king , to launch a military campaign to assert his authority. In 1098, under the pressure of Magnus, the king of Scotland is quitclaimed to him all sovereign authority over the isles.

To Norway, the name of Suðreyjar (Old Norse, traditionally English as Sodor ), meaning southern isles . The Argyle (now Argyll ): the Gaelic coast .

However, Somerled , the husband of Godred Crovan’s granddaughter, led a successful revolt against Norway, transforming Suðreyjar into an independent kingdom. Somerled built the sea fortress of Claig Castle on an island at the southern tip of Jura, establishing control of the Sound of Islay; This article is about the Corryvreckan whirlpool, this information is about the control of the Scottish mainland and the Hebrides.

After his death, nominal authority was re-established, but de-facto authority was split between Somerled’s sounds and the Crovan dynasty . Somerled’s Dougall received part of Jura north of Loch Tarbert (along with adjacent islands further north), while Dougal’s nephew Donald received the rest of Jura, and Islay, and lands to the east. It is unclear why Jura was split like this, but it was connected to a dispute with Donald’s other uncle, Angus , who Donald and his brother had ultimately dispossessed.

In the mid 13th century, the tension between Norway and Scotland led to a series of Battles, culminating in the Battle of Largs , shortly after which the Norwegian king died. In 1266, his more authoritative authority over Suðreyjar to the Scottish king ( Alexander III ) by the Treaty of Perth , in return for a very large sum of money. Alexander generally acknowledged the semi-independent authority of Somerled’s heirs.

Lords of the Isles

At the end of the 13th century, King John Balliol was challenged for the throne by Robert de Bruys . By this point, Somerled’s descendants HAD FORMED into three families – the heirs of Dougall (the MacDougalls ) Those of Donald (the MacDonalds ), and Those of Donald’s brother (the MacRory ); the MacDougalls took John’s side, while the MacDonalds and MacRory backed from Bruys. When de Bruys defeated John, he declared the MacDougall lands forfeit, and gave them to the MacDonalds. John of Islay, the head of the MacDonald family married the heir of the MacRory family , thus acquiring the remaining share of Somerled’s realm, and transforming it into theLordship of the Isles , which lasted for over a century.

Throughout all this time, the descendants of the Cenél nóengusa had retained their identity; they were now MacInnes (not to be confused with similarly named groups elsewhere in Scotland). Though the MacDougalls had had authority over Jura, the MacInnes had been left in possession of the land, as vassals. Now, however, with the MacDonalds in charge of the entire island, the situation changed. The head of the MacDonalds Was unhappy to-have ins Who HAD supported John Balliol and the MacDougalls, so, in 1358, he Asked the chief of the MacLean family to assassinate the MacInnes’ leaders; it was so important that they had not been dispersed throughout Scotland.

In 1390, the head of the MacDonald family – the Lord of the Isles – granted the MacLeans the lands of northern Jura (the lands which had belonged to the MacInnes). The MacLeans established in Glen Garrisdale , as a stronghold, which they named Aros Castle, like one of their castles elsewhere.

Towards the end of the 15th century, the Lords of the Isles made increasing efforts to establish full independence; at the end of the century John MacDonald, the Lord Then , lancé to severe raid is Ross , in pursuance of this aim. Within 2 years of the raid, in 1493, the Lordship of the Isles was declared forfeit, and his realm became part of Scotland, rather than a dependency of the Scottish crown. John was exiled from his form lands, and his subject was considered to be superior to the king. A charter is coming from the Scottish Kingconfirming this state of affairs; Lordship, leaving only Islay and Jura remaining, the charter declares that Skye and the Outer Hebrides are to be considered.


Initially, the MacDonalds of Dunnyveg was landlords of the southern part of Jura. However, following John MacDonald’s death, his heir was Black Donald , his grandson, who had been kept at Innes Chonnel Castle (a stronghold of the Campbells ). In 1501, Donald escaped, triggering an insurrection in his favor Lordship of the Isles. When Donald was recaptured, in 1506, the king took the precaution of transferring the property of the MacDonald family to the Campbells; in Jura, the Campbells of Craignish were the beneficiaries [15] .

The Campbells is based at Ardfin, at the south of Jura, to replace the nearby MacDonald stronghold of Claig Castle. After a century of intermittent violence between the families, the 1607 Macdonalds purchased from the Macdonalds of the Jura.

Following the Scottish reformation , the MacLeans (opponents) and Campbells (supporters) came into dispute; to a certain extent, the Campbells also saw an opportunity for territorial expansion. Having Completed for Several Years on the Harassment of the MacLeans, in 1647 the Campbells launched a surprise attachment on Aros Castle, and killed many MacLeans; for many years in the 20th century, a human skull stood on a ledge in a nearby cellar, and it was traditionally said to be the remains of a Maclean who had been killed in this battle. [16] The skull is no longer there, order the latest editions of Ordnance Survey maps still mark the lease as’ Maclean’s Skull Cave.

The north of the island, however, remained in MacLean until 1737, when it was sold to Donald MacNeil of Colonsay . The remainder of the island was ruled and largely owned by the Campbells for a total of three centuries, by successive eleven Campbell lairds. Under Campbell influence, shrieval authority was established under the sheriff of Argyll . With inherited Campbell control of the sheriffdom, comital authority was superfluous, and the provincial identity (medieval Latin: provincia ) of Islay-Jura faded away. In the mid 18th century, The Heritable Jurisdictions Act abolished both, leaving only the shrieval unit, and without Campbell control.


Beginning in the later 18th century, long before the notorious Highland Clearances of the following century, there were several waves of emigration from Jura. In 1767, fifty people left for Canada , and from that point the population fluctuated, rising to a peak of 1312 in 1831, before gradually shrinking to its 20th century level of just a few hundred. Mercer notes [17] that were relatively unconnected, the results were far from voluntary, being the result of such factors as hunger and spiraling rents. In 1881, the old Campbell mansion at Ardfin was demolished, and replaced by Jura House , a mere family home.

Recent history

In 1899, counties were formally created, on shrieval boundaries, by Scottish Local Government Act ; Jura has become part of the County of Argyll . During the first half of the 20th century, the Campbells gradually became a member of the United States, and the Junction ended with Jura House and its surrounding Ardfin Estate .

In his later life, George Orwell moved to Barnhill , on Jura, living there intermittently from 1946, while critically ill with tuberculosis , until his death in January 1950. He was known to the residents of Jura by his real name, Eric Blair. It was at Barnhill that Orwell finished Nineteen Eighty-Four , during 1947-48. [18] ; he feels the final typescript à son publishers, Secker and Warburg , on 4 December 1948, And They published the book is June 8, 1949. [19] . Despite its isolation, Barnhill has recently become something of a shrine for his readers. [20]

Following late 20th century reforms, Jura is now within the wider region of Argyll and Bute .

Modern ownership

There are now seven estates on Jura, all in separate ownership, with six of the seven held by absentees [21] :

  • Ardfin: situated at the southern tip of the island, between Feolin and Craighouse . For some seventy years from 1938, Ardfin belonged to the Riley-Smith family, brewers from Tadcaster in Yorkshire . In 2010 the estate Was Bought by Greg Coffey , an Australian hedge fund manager, [22] and since then the famous walled garden of Jura House, qui HAD beens Previously a popular tourist attraction, has been closed to the public. Mr. Coffey then submitted proposals for the construction of a private 18-hole golf course on the estate, which was due to be completed in 2016. [23]
  • Inver: lying North of Ardfin, on the west flanks of the Paps of Jura, and belonging to Sir William Lithgow , Vice-Chairman of the Glasgow shipbuilding group Lithgows .
  • Jura Forest: Also lying North of Ardfin, but on the east flanks of the Paps of Jura. Forest Estate, on the east side of the Paps, belongs to Samuel, 3rd Baron Vestey , Chairman of the Food and Farming Vestey Group Ltd, and Master of the Horse of the Royal Household .
  • Tarbert: North of the Corran River , and stretching as far as Loch Tarbert . Former Prime Minister David Cameron has visited the estate on several occasions. [24] It is reported that the 20,000-acre estate is “owned by his wife’s stepfather Lord Astor ” [24] but the ownership of the Tarbert Estate is in the hands of Ginge Manor Estates Ltd., based in Nassau in the Bahamas , and there is “no means of verifying” who the beneficial owners are. [25]
  • Rantallain: immediately North of Loch Tarbert. Rantallain had been a part of the Tarbert Estate, until its sale in 1984. It is owned by businessman Lindsay Bury, who is a former president of the influential wildlife charity Flora and Fauna International .
  • Ardlussa: north of Ruantallain. The owner of Ardlussa [26] is Andrew Fletcher, who lives at Ardlussa House with his family – they are the only estate owners to be permanently resident on Jura.
  • Barnhill: at the northernmost tip of Jura, overlooking the famous Corryvreckan Whirlpool [27] . Also owned by a Fletcher family member, in this case Jamie Fletcher.

There is also a relatively small area owned by the Forestry Commission Scotland .


In an economic survey published in 2005 by the now-defunct Feolin Study Center on Jura, [28] the gross turnover of the island was estimated to be just over 3.2 million. This figure covers production and services only, and takes account of local government. In financial terms, the Jura distillery Was the Largest, and aussi It was the biggest individual use, aim the island’s seven estates, taken together, The Most employed full- and part-time staff. The distillery is owned by Whyte and Mackay , which in 2014 was taken over by Emperador Distillers, part of the Global Alliance Alliance Inc. of the Philippines. The estates provide deer stalking and otherfield sports , together with forestry and a diminishing amount of agriculture . In 2015 a new distillery was established in the north of the island, producing Lussa Gin. [29] Tourism is the only other significant area of ​​economic activity, and in 2005 it was directly involved in the tourist industry. The distillery , field sports and Jura House Gardens were listed as the main tourist attractions, though the gardens have since been closed to the public.

In 2013 Jura Development Trust secured financial backing from the Big Lottery Fund and other sources to purchase the island’s only shop, qui re-opened as a community-owned business in 2014. [30] The Trust est exploring renewable energy options.


The road

Jura lies close to the Scottish mainland, and yet it is often described as “remote”; [31] The island’s most distinguished resident, George Orwell , famously described it as “extremely ungetatable”. [32] This May be Because It Has No Direct air or ferry link to the mainland, apart from a passenger ferry qui runs, in the summer only, from the village of Tayvallich near Lochgilphead . [33] Most travelers to Jura go by CalMac car ferry from Kennacraig on the Kintyre Peninsula to Islay , And Then cross to Jura from Port Askaig is Islay by theMV Eilean Dhiura, ASP Ships on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council . Islay can also be reached by air: Islay Airport is served by Glasgow from Oban .

Jura HAS only one road of Any significance, the single track A846 , qui follows the southern and eastern coastline of the island from Feolin Ferry to Craighouse , a distance of around eight miles (13 km). The road then continues to Lagg, Tarbert, Ardlussa and beyond. A private track runs from the road to the far north of the island. A local bus service is operated by Garelochhead Coaches. [34]


At Mute Swan , we’ll Jura

The island has a large population of red deer and it is commonly believed that the name is derived from hjǫrtr , the Old Norse word for deer. (In Old Norse DYR Was a euphemism for hjǫrtr , as This was a sacred and tabooed word.) Through browsing, the deer prevent prevention the vegetation on the island from turning back to woodland, qui is the natural climax community ; indeed an alternative explanation of the island’s name that it derives from ‘the great quantity of yew trees that grew up in the island’ [35] in earlier times.

Jura is also noted for its bird life, and especially for its raptors , including buzzards , golden eagles , white-tailed eagles and hen harriers . Since 2010 Jura has been designated by Scottish Natural Heritage as a Special Protection Area for golden eagles. [36] Like many other parts of the Hebrides and Western Scotland, the shores of Jura are frequented by gray seals , and the elusive otter is also common here, as is the adder , the UK’s only venomous snake.

Literary accounts

In 1549, Donald Monro , Dean of the Isles, wrote that the island was “an atheist fyne forrest, to unite and manure with the coist syde”, with “fresche water loches, with meikell of profit” and an abundance of salmon . [37] [Note 1]

However, when the soldier and military historian Sir James Turner visited Jura in 1632, he was less impressed, reporting that ‘[it is] a horrid island and a dwelling for deere and wild beastes’. [38]

But Martin Martin , the writer and travelerThis is the first place in the world of Scotland, as it appears by the long life of the natives and their state of health. Martin noted some extraordinary examples of longevity, including one Gillouir MacCrain, who was alleged to have kept one hundred and eighty Christmases in his own house. And he was impressed by the good health of the inhabitants: ‘There is no epidemical disease that prevails here. Fevers are but seldom observed by the native, and any kind of flow is rare. The taste and agues are not so much known, they are not liable to sciatica. Convulsions, vapors, palsies, surfeits, lethargies, megrims, consumptions, rickets, breads of the stomach or coughs, are not frequent here, and none of them are at any time observed to become mad.[39]


Like all inhabited Hebridean islands, Jura has its own indigenous tradition of Gaelic song and poetry. [40] [41] Since 1993 it has been home to the Jura Music Festival, [42] which takes place in September.

Jura is also known for an event of 23 August 1994, when Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty , known as the KLF , filmed themselves burning in the Ardfin boathouse on the south coast of the island. [43]

Jura is featured in the plot of the 2003 novel A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin , and the 2007 novel The Careful Use of Compliments by the Scottish Writer Alexander McCall Smith , and is a setting for some of the narrative and action in Anne Michaels ‘ 2008 novel The Winter Vault .

In music, Jura is mentioned in: “Crossing to Jura” by R. Kennedy and D. MacDonald, recorded in 1997 by JCB with Jerry Holland on the album A Trip to Cape Breton ; “The Bens of Jura”, a song by Capercaillie ; and “Isle of Jura”, a song by Skyclad .

The 2010 album Poets and Lighthouses by Tuvan singer Albert Kuvezin of the band Yat Kha was recorded and produced by the British musician Giles Perring on Jura, with some of the performances being recorded in the forest at Lagg. The album reached Number 1 in the European World Music Charts in January 2011. [44]

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