Replacement Ferry Between Islay and Jura

Work brought me to Jura this morning and as I drove into Port Askaig I noticed a different ferry than the usual one. The “Eilean Dhiura” is undergoing maintenance and the MV Eigg, the replacement ferry from Calmac, is now running the service. The MV Eigg is the oldest ferry in the fleet, a respectable 39 years old. She has been active for many years on the Oban to Lismore route. This ferry is smaller and it’s not a Ro-Ro type ferry. This means you have to reverse onto and off the ferry at Port Askaig. The capacity of the ferry is 5 cars as opposed to the usual 8 or 10 so you can be faced with slight delays. The Eilean Dhiura is expected to return in two week. Below is a picture of the MV Eigg at Feolin this morning.

MV Eigg at Feolin Isle of Jura

The Kirsty Law Band, Craig Rozga & Neil Gow

kirsty-lawSound of Jura is excited to announce that it’s back with more live music on Jura for the 2015 season. The first show this year combines traditional Scots songs from a rising star on the Scottish folk scene with the long awaited Sound of Jura debut of two highly popular alumni of Jura’s musical melting pot. Borders-born Kirsty Law has grown up learning traditional songs, mainly in the Scots dialect. She now combines this with her strong interests in songwriting and poetry which has lead to exciting collaboration and her own self penned work, inspired by the ideas and forms she finds within the tradition. She has now launched into a career of performing and writing, fast becoming noticed as a talent to watch.

Starting ‘The Kirsty Law Band’ where she is accompanied by Rona Wilkie (BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2012) and Marit Falt (Vamm) they create a sound which is charged and exciting whilst resonating with stories, forms and melodies that have withstood the test of time. No lesser figure than the estimable Karine Polwart describes Kirsty Law thus: “Beautiful and feisty… it’s a joy to hear a young singer and writer in Scots with such earthy and conversational character to her singing and songs… a young musician doing things her own way”

Craig Rozga & Neil Gow need no introduction to Jura and Islay audiences. Last seen as a duo at the 2009 Jura Music Festival’s Sunday night concert, this pairing combines understated and intricate acoustic guitar playing with what is genuinely one of the great voices currently to be heard on the West Coast. Neil Gow is a songwriter and guitarist whose music perfectly complements the measured and involving voice of Craig Rozga. Known to many as one third of Jura’s Pete Smoke and the Roaches, this duo gives us something original and special.

The concert will take place in Jura Hall on 17 April 2015, doors open 20:30. Tickets for the gig are £12 on the door, and can also be bought in advance at If you’re on the island and able to get to the Jura Pub, you can also pick up tickets there for the special price of £10 up to a few nights before the concert.

One Head Teacher for Islay and Jura Schools

islay-juraI think if I was a teacher with the aspiration of becoming a head teacher in a stunning part of Scotland this would probably be the dream job. If this applies to you than you’ll be pleased to hear that The Keills & Small Isles Primary Schools on Islay and Jura are looking for a new headteacher. The job description mentions:

This is an exciting opportunity to lead the learning teams of two island schools for the Shared Headship of Keills Primary School, Isle of Islay, and Small Isles Primary School, Isle of Jura. Within their shared ethos both our schools retain their own uniqueness and sense of identity within their communities; whilst there is also a strong sense of partnership working between them and with the other local schools.

Both Keills and Small Isles Primary Schools have integral Pre 5 Units and their Early/First/Second Level Classes enable smooth transitions and partnership working from Pre 5 into Primary. Both settings are vibrant, creative, non-denominational establishments providing education for 3-12 year olds following the Scottish ‘Curriculum for Excellence’.

For more information and to apply please visit this link

Isle of Jura Backdrop for Psychological Thriller

between-the-shadow-and-the-soulJura is the backdrop for much of the action in a hard-hitting new psychological thriller about a fragile young woman who steals a baby and flees to the island. Author Marguerite Valentine delved into her experience as a childcare specialist and psychotherapist for the novel, which has launched at Foyles bookshop in Bristol last month.

Flori is a successful, attractive young woman living and working in London when in the early hours of the morning, in a moment of madness, she steals a tiny baby. With the reluctant assistance of her best friend, Rose, and Matt, an erstwhile lover, she flees with the baby to Jura, a remote Scottish island. Living in extreme isolation and without the support of Rose or Matt, traumatic memories from her childhood return to haunt her and her life begins to unravel.

Marguerite explained: ‘Some experiences have seared my mind, particularly cruelty to children. The idea for the book came with an image I saw years ago on the TV news of a woman caught on CCTV stealing a baby from a maternity ward. I wondered what had prompted such a drastic choice. ‘Having worked with children at risk, I also know it’s heartbreaking and profoundly disturbing for social work professionals whose actions are so restricted by bureaucracy and poor funding. They carry a huge burden of responsibility. It’s all of these dynamics that I wanted to write about.”

You can order your copy for £9,99 online at Amazon

Jura Music Festival 26-28 Sep 2014

September is now upon us and the island of Jura is gearing up for another fantastic weekend of great music and craic. The island comes together with true community spirit to stage this amazing event! Last year’s 20th celebratory festival was enhanced by having an extra special concert in the Jura Distillery cooperage early Sunday evening with the mighty Wolfstone. A concert in the cooperage was going to be a ‘one off’ event. However, by popular demand theyhave decided to stage another one this year the top band being the mighty Skerryvore.

Jura Music Festival 2014
Jura Music Festival 2014

And Saturday’s line-up of Blazin’ Fiddles, Kathleen MacInnes, Rura and the Robyn Stapleton Trio and a ceilidh by Fergie MacDonald Ceilidh Band in Craighouse village hall will ensure that this will be a memorable event. Wherever you wander in and around Craighouse during the weekend, music and dance will draw you in. [Read more…]