In the north of the Isle of Jura, between the Isle of Scarba and Jura, is the Corryvreckan Whirlpool. Corryvreckan is the third largest of these natural phenomenons and can be a spectacular sight to see. The dangerous currents, standing waves and sudden calm waters between the two islands of Jura and Scarba usually appear around the changing of the tides, and most of all during spring tide. These effects are caused when in and outgoing tides enter the narrow strait between the two islands while being pushed up and down by deep waters of around 150 to 250 metres with a pinnacle in the middle which rises up to 30 metres below the surface. The Corryvreckan whirlpool is in fact the third largest, or second largest according to some, in the world, and only experienced skippers are able to navigate these waters during tidal changes. Visiting Corryvreckan is a must, trust me.
Although Corryvreckan is in the north of Jura it can still be quite an undertaking to visit it as there is no road going there. If you do want to make it on foot you’ll have to drive or take a bus to the end of the “Long Road“, the one road on Jura, to “Road End”, around half a mile after Lealt, where you’ll find a small car park and, a wee bit further, a chain over the road with padlock. From here on it’s a long walk to reach the north of Jura. The nearest cottage is Barnhill, which is 4 miles, Kinuachdrachd is 5 miles and Corryvreckan itself is a 7 mile walk. If this is too far, and it probably is for most, you might want to arrange 4-wheel drive transportation with one of the estates or ask Alex for advice.
If you can’t arrange a drive and walking is not your thing you might want to arrange another form of transportation to Corryvreckan. The most obvious one being a boat. There are a few choices here. You can get in touch with Venture West, they run regular trips from Crinan on the mainland to Corryvreckan. They also offer sea taxi pickup and drop off at various points on Jura upon request. For more info visit their website www.venture-west.co.uk
Lately another company has started to offer trips to Corryvreckan. It’s Islay Sea Adventures and they offer Corryvreckan trips from Port Askaig. Port Askaig is within easy reach of Craighouse. All you need to do is drive down to Feolin or take a bus or bike and cross the Sound of Islay on the Jura Ferry. From Port Askaig you sail up the Sound of Islay and along the very fascinating west coast of Jura to the Corryvreckan Whirlpool. The folk from Islay Sea Adventures are very knowledgeable and will also point out the wildlife along the way. Sightings of Golden Eagles or Sea Eagles occur very frequently. Booking is advised. For more information on the Corryvreckan Tours visit this link or you can either call Gus on 01496 300 129, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Minihan says
Thanks very much for that information and photographs. I would like to hear from you more often.
On Oct1st 2016 i was privileged to capture images of 2 of the Paps of Jura from here on the north coast of Ireland. It was a wonderful experience for me.
Thanks Paul Minihan.
Ron Werter says
Ron, Wondering how to get in touch with the estates to arrange for a look at Corryvreckan. We’re not too much for adventurous boat trips and would rather see it by land anyway. Alex doesn’t seem to be answering emails.
Margot Aarden says
Ron, we’d like to hike from Long road to see the Corryvreckan whirpool. Can you tell me how long the hike will take?
I haven’t done it myself but it will be a couple of hours (one way) from the wee parking space at road end. Should be a fabulous walk 🙂
Ronnie Maclean says
Hello. Surprised that there was no response from Alex; I assume you refer to Alex Dunnachie who runs Islay and Jura tours with his bus from Craighouse. If you intend to walk to the whirlpool, I would recommend that you try to contact Alex again and ask him to take you to the road end just north of Lealt; he should also be able to arrange for transportation north to Barnhill and beyond.
I last made the trip you want to do in 1993 and it was a good two hour walk after leaving Barnhill. Maybe the road has been improved, but Alex can bring you up to date on that Phone: 01496 820314 or
I understand that the best view of the whirlpool is from Scarba, but getting there is quite another question.
Good Luck. Ronnie Maclean, Former Jura resident now in Mesa Arizona