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Ten historical and natural wonders of Jura.

Ten historical and natural wonders of Jura.
Mountainous, wild and sparsely populated, Jura has a rugged and remote appeal. As you explore the landscape you’ll discover both a fascinating history and natural wonders galore. From standing stones to whirlpools, gravestones to stunning beaches, Jura has it all. Here are ten of the best historical and natural highlights…

Paps of Jura
Jura’s top natural wonder must be its three impressive cone-shaped peaks known as the Paps of Jura. They dominate the island landscape and can be seen from much of the surrounding area. The highest Pap is Beinn an Oir (785m), then comes Benn Shiantaidh (755m) and finally Beinn a'Chaolais (734m). They offer fantastic, if challenging, hillwalking. Walk to the top of any of the Paps and you’ll be treated to the most breath-taking vista. You’re likely to see some fantastic wildlife too while you’re scaling these heights.

The small crofting settlement of Keils is a fascinating place to explore and gives an insight into life on Jura in the past. In the mid-1800s there were 22 crofts in Keils which were home to 102 people. The settlement declined steadily during the 1900s and today you’ll find a small number of cottages and houses plus the stone walls of abandoned thatched buildings, including dwellings, byres and a pig sty. The views from the settlement across Small Isles Bay are dramatic.

The ancient burial site of Kilearnadill is a short walk up the glen from Keils. It’s a beautiful spot looking out over the Sound of Jura to Kintyre and the mountains of Arran. It was once the site of a very early church dedicated to St Earnadail, the uncle of St Columba. You’ll find a variety of fascinating gravestones here, including several early grave slabs of the West Highland style dating back to the 1300s or 1400s, some carved with depictions of swords. Look out for the Campbell mausoleum and the gravestone of Gillour Macrain who died around 1645 and is said to have ‘lived to have kept one hundred and eighty Christmasses in his own house’.

Small Isles Bay
Small Isle Bay is a broad sandy bay on Jura’s south east coast sheltered by the Small Isles. Craighouse, the island’s main village, sits on the south western corner of the bay. The north end was once the island's main deep water anchorage. Cattle were loaded here and stores unloaded. It was from here that hundreds of emigrants from Jura sailed to a new life to escape famine and the clearances.

Corran Sands
Corran Sands is possibly the finest beach on Jura. This beautiful sweep of shell sand extends for a couple of miles east from the main road north from Craighouse, split in two by the fast-flowing Corran River. It’s a great place to spend a sunny day and you’re likely to have it pretty much to yourself!

Lagg Drovers’ Road
The road that now follows the south and part of the east coast of Jura was once a drovers’ road, built to transport cattle being herded from Colonsay, Islay and the rest of Jura to Lagg. From here the cattle were ferried across the Sound of Jura to Knapdale on the mainland. You can see the slipway and pier that was built here in 1810. The nearby drovers' inn is now a farmhouse.

Standing Stones
Jura has a number of standing stones scattered along the east coast. The tallest of these is at Camus-an-Staca near Ardfin. It’s also worth seeking out the standing stone at Tarbert near the old cemetery. There is a number of other fascinating ancient sites on Jura including a Neolithic burial cairn near Strone farm and a dun at Lowlandman's Bay known as An Dunan.

Loch Tarbert
Loch Tarbert is a beautiful sea loch on the west coast of Jura, which comes close to cutting the island in half. It’s famed among sailors for providing a wonderfully remote anchorage. It’s also a lovely place to walk. You can trek from coast to coast across Jura by crossing the island at the narrows of Tarbert. A good track leads to the shores of Loch Tarbert on the west coast, while the route is completed with a visit to Tarbert Bay on the east.

Near Ardlussa in the north of Jura you’ll find the glorious sandy beach of Inverlussa. In the summer you can savour the view and enjoy tea and cakes thanks to Tea on the Beach, the world's only walkie-talkie cafe. Radio through your order and your drinks and cakes will be delivered to you!

Corryvreckan Whirlpool
If you walk to the northernmost point of Jura you can look out over the wild Gulf of Corryvreckan, site of the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool - one of the largest permanent whirlpools on earth. The walk there is long and tough going, but well worth the effort to witness this incredible natural wonder. You’ll also find a number of tour operators in the area offering boat trips to the whirlpool and the surrounding waters.

To get to the Jura with a vehicle you’ll first need to head to Islay. The islands are separated by the Sound of Islay, a half-mile wide stretch of water. The ferry runs from Port Askaig on Islay to Feolin on Jura. The other option is to catch the Jura Passenger Ferry from Tayvallich in mid Argyll directly to Craighouse on Jura. It runs from Easter until the end of September. Vehicles are not accommodated on this route. If you don’t bring your own car, you can take a tour of Jura with Jura Island Tours.

Find out more about things to see and do on Jura.
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