The Isle of Jura


In the last quarter of 2013 I went in for a little competition run by Jura Whisky. The competition was for very short stories (a maximum of just 1000 characters) based on a subject titles given by the distiller. Quite surprisingly a little story I did for their 'Into the Wild' subject - called 'Rocks' - got onto their short (or long?) list of 30. Now each of the 30 story writers are in with a chance to win a prize of a visit to the isle of Jura and to the distillery.

Obviously I was quite made up to get on the short/long list, but I would be even more made up if I could
win the competition and get to visit the island.

Click to go through to the site and vote (for me and the story 'Rocks'!)

The story is based on when I was undertaking geological mapping for my degree, on the adjacent island of Islay (where there is the highest concentration of whisky distilleries in the world). Whilst I was there unfortunately I never had the opportunity to get over to Jura, now maybe I will (okay a c.1:30 chance). The story with the most votes will get to Jura. So that's where you come in! If you have the time, and the inclination, please drop by and vote for my story ('Rocks') and who knows in a month or two I could be writing a blog or a story just down the coast from where George Orwell wrote 1984, I could be having a dram of whisky with one or two of the locals (it's almost the size of the Isle of Wight (population 132,000) but only has a population of 201 !), I could be photographing Golden Eagles, or getting sucked into the Corryvreckan Whirlpool.

Jura map
Where is Jura!? source

For those of you not ware of the island, below are a few
Jura factoids you may find interesting about the island:

  • Jura is the 13th largest island of the British Isles (between the Isle of Wight and South Uist);
  • It is in the Inner Hebrides between the Kintrye peninsula and Islay;
  • It has a population of just 201 (people), but has over 5000 deer;
  • Other wildlife includes sea otters, seals, golden eagles, and numerous birds species;
  • The three main hills are know as the Paps of Jura and are a draw for walkers;

the Paps of Jura (photo source)

  • There is only one hotel (which is also the one bar), and also only one shop and church on Jura - all in Craighouse;
  • There is no ferry link direct to the mainland (you have to get a local ferry from Port Askaig on Islay);
  • George Orwell (or Eric Blair to the locals) who described the island as 'extremely ungetatable,' spent much of the last three year of his life on Jura.
  • Orwell finished off his wonderful 1984 on the island at a remote house 'Barnhill' whilst suffering from TB.
  • Between Jura and the small island of Scarba to the north is the Corryvreckan whirlpool.
  • Oh, and there's a certain distillery on the island (just the one of course!). Jura Whisky Distillery.
  • The distillery was taken over by White & Mackay in 2007, which was subsequently taken over by an Indian drinks company (the United Breweries Group of India)

Jura Links:

Jura Whisky Distillery
Jura hotel
Jura Wikipedia