Jura, George Orwell wrote, is “an extremely ungetable place”. It is easier, but only modestly so, to reach Jura now than it was when Orwell lived on the island. Unless you have your own boat or take, in summer, the small passenger ferry it still requires two ferry trips. But for Orwell, who disliked “big towns, noise, motor cars, the radio, tinned food, central heating and ‘modern’ furniture”, it proved a special place. As it has – and does – for many people since.
True, there are more motor cars now, radio reception is better than it was and tinned food more readily available. The post arrives daily now and there’s ponderous satellite internet too but even if Jura is more connected than once it was it is still not very connected. The newspapers don’t reach the north end of the island until 4pm; it takes an effort to read them. For the visitor this is part of Jura’s charm and allure.
Jura is 140 square miles in size and has a permanently-resident population of just 200. But it is not an empty place. Or, rather, it is more than an empty place. Days are full here. There are moors to tramp, lobster pots to check, deer, otters and golden eagles to watch and much else besides. Time seems to stretch; a week on Jura is as restoring as a fortnight elsewhere. Even so, leaving always comes too soon.
So be it. The “real world” beckons. In any case Jura is a real place too not some playground retreat. Politics reaches the Hebrides as well. Next year’s independence referendum for one thing; David Cameron’s forthcoming holiday on the island for another.
Back now, then, and reconnecting with the connected life. Jarring but unavoidable. What’s been happening?
Tags: british politics, holidays, Jura, Scotland