We somehow didn’t manage to book our guided tours until our last day, so we did both the Jura Whisky Distillery tour this morning, and then “Alex the bus” drove us around the island and told us about its history, nature, and everyday life. I personally found Alex tour more interesting than that of the distillery, but I’m not really a whisky drinker. Alex stories about the life on Jura were fascinating – it wasn’t an easy life for the inhabitants, and the landlords, the Campbell family, didn’t exactly make it easier. (But with a curse thrown at them, justice was allegedly served in the end.) Many people also left for the U.S. In the 1800s, some of them with a resettlement grant from the British Government. Today, life is different of course. While Alex told us that when his wife grew up there, people shopped clothes and other things when the traveling salesman came by, and then the day after everyone were wearing the same clothes, today with internet, everything can be ordered and reach the island within a few days. It takes maybe 5 hours to get to Glasgow by ferry and bus, but there are also flights there from the mainland so people can go for a day if needed. So in a way, it’s possible to have all conveniences. But finding work still seems to be a challenge, and also keeping many of the necessary services alive such as certain ferry routes, food services, and a little convenience store. Jura attracts about 20,000 visitors a year, but the permanent population is no more than 200 people and it’s difficult to get permits to build on the island as there are a lot of restrictions in place to protect the landscape. A challenge to find a balance as the population also needs a sustainable size to keep the island inhabited. Three fascinating and informative hours on the as you can see! I recommend anyone who visits the island to give Alex a call and book a tour
The tour ended with a visit to the little church where they had a fantastic photo exhibition of the life and the people of Jura from the late 1800s and onwards.