An island off the west coast of Scotland noted for its sparseness, wildlife and rugged beauty.

Jura is located west of the Kintyre peninsula, which is visible across the Sound of Jura, and north of Islay, a few hundred metres away across the Sound of Islay. It is approximately 25 miles long and an average 3 miles across, in the shape of one of Obelix's menhirs. Most of the island is rocky and uninhabitable. The west side is beaten by Atlantic winds and waves; the only road runs up the east side.

Statistics of the island are:

  • 250 people
  • 3000 deer
  • one single-track road
  • one shop
  • one hotel
  • one distillery

The most distinguished natural features are the Paps of Jura, three mountains distinctly visible from the mainland, so-called from the Scottish for breast. Another notable site is the Gulf of Corryvreckan, a natural whirlpool at the tip of the island. It is caused by tides rushing round both sides of the island and meeting in the very narrow channel between Jura and the small island off the Northern tip, Scarba. The Royal Navy rate the passage unnavigable at certain tides.

Jura is probably most famous for its literary connection. In 1946 George Orwell moved to Barnhill, a small cottage on Jura, to escape from the pressures and grime of London life and to work on his latest novel. Over the next two years he wrote 1984 here, finishing it in November 1948, spending time gardening, and once capsizing a boat in the Gulf of Corryvreckan, nearly losing his life. Orwell loved Jura; however, his vigorous lifestyle aggravated a pre-existing, and undiagnosed, lung condition, which turned out to be tuberculosis, from which Orwell died in January 1950.

Barnhill is now a holiday cottage, available to rent. Additional attractions include the wildlife - deer are plentiful, and mountain goats and golden eagles can also be found - and the Isle of Jura malt whisky.

Ju"ra (?), n. [F. & L.]

1. A range of mountains between France and Switzerland.

2. Geol.

The Jurassic period. See Jurassic.


© Webster 1913.

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