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Islay North is steeped in clan history as well as being home to the Royal Society for Protection of Birds nature reserve and farm at Loch Gruinart. The nature reserve is an important place for migrating birds – including 45 per cent of the world’s population of Greenland barnacle geese in winter – and other wildlife, from butterflies to otters and hares to seals.
Finlaggan was the administrative centre of the Lordship of the Isles in the 1300-1400s.
The story can be followed at the Finlaggan Visitor Centre, while the ruined Kilnave Chapel overlooks the scene of a bloody clan battle between the McDonalds and MacLeans.
Five of the island’s eight distilleries can be found in the north, as well as the other main ferry port of Port Askaig. The Gaelic language has a strong presence on the island and Bowmore is home to Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, the Galeic language and culture centre.
Compared to Jura, neighbouring Islay is overcrowded; there are only 180 people living on Jura but lots and lots more deer.
The island has a small village, Craighouse, and its west coast has no full-time inhabitants.
Jura is dominated by its three magnificent mountains, the Paps of Jura: Beinn an Oir Beinn Shiantaidh and Beinn a’ Chaolais, they can be seen as far away as Northern Ireland in the south and Skye in the north.
To the north of Jura lies the Gulf of Corryvreckan where, tidal conditions produce a whirlpool classed as the third largest in the world. The waves can reach 30 feet and the roar of the waters can be heard up to 10 miles away.
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