The Isle of Ghia

ArdminishBay&GighaHotel

GHIA

I have eulogised in previous blogs about the Hebridean Islands off the west coast of Scotland.  Today I include a gallery of photographs which I took, some years ago now, on the southernmost Inner Hebridean island of GHIA.  Ghia has one of the warmest climates in Scotland and is a beautiful destination, with sandy beaches, the renowned Achamore Gardens, good food, history and wildlife, a golf course, quiet roads and friendly people.

One of the main attractions of this small island is the ease with which one can reach it from the mainland.  It lies just four miles from the Kintyre peninsular and the ferry, from Tayinloan, will take just 20 minutes to reach the small landing at Ardminish.  The island’s one hotel is close by and I had a delightful few days based there whilst I explored the island.

The population of Ghia is approximately 160.  The island is just over 6 miles long.  Its single-track main road runs from north to south covering almost the whole length of the island which is nowhere more than two miles across from east to west.  The highest mountain on the island is Creag Bhan in the northern part of the island which is exactly 100 metres in height.

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Isle of GHIA – marked with the red pointer

Find out more about the island at:  GHIA’s website

PHOTO GALLERY . . .

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20 minute ferry ride from the mainland of Kintyre

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Ardminish Bay and the island’s one hotel

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Bikes for hire will take you the length of the island’s one north-to-south road

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Scene at the island’s south Pier

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Many birds on the island’s foreshore

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The island’s Manor House and magnificent gardens

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Roadside flora

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More roadside hydrangeas

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Sheep roaming the foreshore

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Shade under the palm tree

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Ancient Runes

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… and ancient tombs

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View of the Paps of Jura looking west from Ghia

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Jura

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The Paps of Jura

juramapI proffer just a short profile of one of my favourite islands of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides.  I include just a few photographs taken on my visit there a few years ago.

Jura is an isolated, dramatic, historic island.  It is a close neighbour of the larger and more populated Isle of Islay, which provides the main means of access to Jura, via ferry across the short Straits of Islay.

The road, which starts when alighting at the ferry terminal on Jura, extends northwards for about 8 miles.  It then peters out into a track leading to Barnhill, at the most northern end of the island. This cottage is where George Orwell chose to spend a good deal of the last few years of his life, working on his book, ‘1984’, a classic of modern literature.

On Jura’s one main east coast road is Craighouse, the only village on the island, which includes the island’s only church, shop and whisky distillery. The majority of the island’s approximately 200 residents live in this south-eastern part.

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Jura – looking across the Sound of Islay from Port Askaig on Islay

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One of the many rivulets running down from the mountainous West Coast

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Looking across to Scaba from Jura

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The Isle of Jura Whisky Distillery at Craighouse

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Ready to tune up on the beach at Craighouse

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Heather-clad moors – looking across from Jura to Islay


George Orwell and the Corryvreckan Whirlpool

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The publication of Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ in 1949 might not have happened had an incident off the north coast of Jura not turned out differently.

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Orwell’s cottage at Barnhill

 Orwell’s house on Jura looks northwards over the stretch of water towards the island of Scurba.  This stretch of water is known as the Strait of Corryvreckan, and it contains the world’s third largest whirlpool.

One day, whilst in a boat here, without any life-saving equipment, and very close to the whirlpool, Orwell and his three-year old son were thrown out of their vessel.  They were able to cling to the up-turned boat until, eventually, they were rescued by lobster fishermen.

In later life, Orwell’s son, in re-telling the story, wrote that . . .  

“. . . the family – including Orwell’s sister Avril, nephew Henry Dakin and niece Lucy Dakin – had been out on a small motor boat as part of a camping trip.  “Father got the tide table wrong,” he said.  “We got wrecked. We lost the outboard and got caught in the tide.” None of the party had been wearing life jackets, said Mr Blair. “My father and I ended up upside down underneath the boat,” he remembered.  “He pulled me out and dragged me ashore.  It was a pretty stupid thing to happen.  In the twinkling of an eye that could have gone totally wrong and we could have been swept away and drowned. And of course that would have been the end of my father because he was still really in the middle of writing Nineteen Eighty-Four – so that wouldn’t have happened.”

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My own attempt at photographing the Corryvreckan Straits from a cruise ship in 2012