There is a lot going on with the Jura Ferries at the moment. Where one route wasn't operational for some time, another one has a lack of passengers and could perform a lot better. I will start with the regular ferry service first.
Relief Ferry Margaret Sinclair in the Sound of Islay
Last week the regular Port Askaig to Feolin ferry 'Eilean Dhiura' had technical problems and had to receive necessary maintenance. One of the prop shafts failed and there was a problem with the water pump. Something similar happened late February this year. The relief ferry Margaret Sinclair was called in but had to leave again this weekend to perform other duties. This left Jura without a car ferry, which is a tricky situation for businesses such as the Jura Distillery who rely on daily supplies of barley, and for tourists who want to visit or leave the island. At this moment the Calmac ferry MV Eigg is running the Port Askaig to Feolin route until the Eilean Dhiura returns to Islay on Thursday if all goes as planned. So it looks everything is fine for the time being. Continue reading.....The other ferry, passengers only, which runs from Craighouse to Tayvallich, is strangely enough not getting enough passengers at the moment. This has something to do with the fact that a lot of people aren't aware that there is a ferry serving Jura from the mainland Scotland. And perhaps it has something to do with the fares as well, after all a return trip for an adult is Â£35 which is almost twice the price for a return ticket on the Kennacraig to Islay ferry, which is Â£17.60. But you do save a huge amount of time with the new passenger ferry and we all know, time is money, so your money is well spent! And besides that, this is in fact the only opportunity to make a daytrip from the mainland to Jura and I can safely say that it's a memorable trip, Jura is a fantastic island!
I have been asked by some from the Argyll and Bute Council to write an update on the Jura passenger ferry so here we go: The Jura Passenger service is run by Islay Sea Safari and started last year on a three year trial basis, summer season only. The ferry runs from Tayvallich on the Kintyre mainland to the stone pier at Craighouse Jura. For the service they use a high speed RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat). It was a success from the start and the service was even rewarded by the Argyll and Bute council.
The Jura Passenger Ferry makes a couple of daily return trips according to a fixed time schedule. The total one way travel time is an hour and you get to see one of the most beautiful parts of the Sound of Jura and great views towards the Paps of Jura. The trip itself is already an adventure, the time on Jura is an even bigger reward. In case of a daytrip you can spend around six hours on the island on most days. There is a bike hire available on Jura and for those who want to stay longer they can book a room at Jura Hotel or in one of the other B&B's on the island. A visit to the recently opened restaurant, the Antlers, is recommended.
For day-trippers it's good to know that there is a regular bus service from Lochgilphead to Tayvallich as well as ample car parking. More information on the Jura passenger ferry service is available at www.jurapassengerferry.com, for more information on the Isle of Jura have a look at www.jurainfo.com