If you want a vacation where you will definitely get away from the fast paced life of a city, then the Isle of Jura, in the Hebrides Isles, is the place for you. There is evidence that this island was inhabited in Neolithic Times from artefacts found at Cul a Bhaile and the burial chamber near Poll a'Cheo. There are many standing stones and remains of iron forts showing that people have always called this island home. Recorded history of Jura actually begins in 325 B.C. with the exploratory voyage of Pytheas of Massalia and there are records of battles between the natives and the Dalradians and of Norse rule until 1156. Through many times of hardship, such as the feuds between the clans, the Clearances, which saw many people leaving for America, and the two world wars, Jura has persevered.
The only way you can get to Jura is by ferry from Port Askaig on the Isle of Islay. This ride only takes a few minutes and if you don't bring your own vehicle, the only transportation on Jura is a minibus. The roads are all single lane, so if you are driving, you do have to be careful.
Jura is home to many herds of deer and this is where its name comes from Norse words meaning the Isle of the Deer. While there are only about 200 people living on this island, there are close to 7000 deer. In addition to the deer, the island is home to over 100 species of birds as well as hares, seals, goats and many other forms of wildlife. If you love wildlife, then this is certainly the place for you.
The island is very small and has many caves and beaches. However, due to the rocky land, you will have to put in a great deal of effort in order to reach them. Once you do, though, the scenery and the solitude and certainly worth it. For the less strenuous side of sightseeing, Jura House was once the home of the Campbells. It is a privately owned home today, but the grounds are open to the public. The path takes you to a grey beach where the sand is actually grains of local quartzite. Along the path you will see the famous Jura slate, Misty Pool, a Bronze Age burial cairn and a Neolithic burial chamber.
Craighouse is the capital of Jura and it is here where you can visit the distillery famous for its Isle of Jura Single Malt Whisky. Although it has been in existence since 1810, the making of whisky has a history that goes back many centuries before that date. This whisky has won international awards. There are quaint stores in the village of Craighouse and it is the only place on the island with restaurants or eateries.
Visit a deserted crofter's settlement at Keils, where some of the thatched cottages still remain and in Northern Jura, you can visit the grave of Saint Earnon, the uncle of St, Columba. There are also scenic mountains, but like the caves and beaches they are very hard to get to. Avid climbers will love the challenge and the result when you reach the top is nothing short of breathtaking.