Isle of Iona & Isle of Staffa
Iona is home to the ruins of an ancient nunnery, a medieval abbey, and the burial ground of 48 Scottish kings. It is three miles long and one and a half miles wide so it is possible to walk around Iona in a day with plenty of time to spend in the Abbey and Nunnery. The coast is more rugged in the south but has dazzling white shell sand beaches and secluded coves around the rest of the coastline.
Iona has attractions for all the family, great walking, beautiful beaches and offers a peaceful holiday for the whole family to live a lifestyle far removed from a hectic urban pressurised existence. The residents of Iona are incredibly friendly and welcoming and many will go out of their way to help you get where you want to be. The local insight can be fascinating so stop and pass the time of day with the islanders.
Isle of Staffa, home to Fingles Cave. Seven miles off the west coast of Mull, Staffa is the most romantic and dramatic of Scotland's many uninhabited islands. On its south side, the perpendicular rockface features an imposing series of black basalt columns, known as the Colonnade, which have been cut by the sea into cathedralesque caverns, most notably Fingal's Cave.
The Vikings knew about the island - the name derives from their word for "Island of Pillars" - but it wasn't until 1772 that it was "discovered" by the world. Turner painted it, Wordsworth explored it, but Mendelssohn's Die Fingalshöhle, inspired by the sounds of the sea-wracked caves he heard on a visit here in 1829 did most to popularize the place - after which Queen Victoria gave her blessing too. The geological explanation for these polygonal basalt organ pipes is that they were created by a massive subterranean explosion some sixty million years ago. A huge mass of molten basalt burst forth onto land and as it cooled it solidified into what are essentially crystals.
Isle of Colonsay
The island of Colonsay lies in the Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. Fifteen miles to the north lies the island of Mull; the eastern and southern horizons are bounded by the islands of Jura and Islay; and to the south west, just visible from a high point on a clear day, is the coast of Donegal in Ireland. To the west lies the Atlantic, with only the Du Hirteach lighthouse standing between Colonsay and Canada.
Most visitors are attracted to Colonsay for its tranquility and unspoilt natural beauty. Although it is one of the smallest of the inhabited Hebridean islands, Colonsay offers the visitor a very wide variety of natural attractions in its varied habitats.
Isle of Jura
Whether its for a weekend away cycling, walking, touring the island or simply just for an evening meal, Venture-West can cater to all your required needs; Public, Private and Commercial. The Isle of Jura has plenty to offer for visitors. There are many historical sites of interest, varying from Iron Age Forts, ancient burial grounds,standing stones and Jura House which was built by the Campbells of Jura.
Craighouse is the main focal point on the island with a shop, bistro and a hotel. Craighouse also accommodates Jura's only distillery which is open to visitors by appointment. Jura is a paradise for walkers with the Paps of Jura being the main destination with breathtaking views of nearby islands and the west coast of Scotland.
Things to do:
For those who love the great outdoors, Jura is an idyllic place. Its three ‘Paps’ – or mountains - dominate the skyline, distinguishable from miles around and the focus for the tough Jura Fells Race which takes place every May. For those who like to explore, whether by foot, bike, or yacht, there is a wealth of historical sites and natural phenomena to discover; from stone circles and standing stones to ruined castles and iron age forts: from sandy beaches and secluded coves to stacks, pinnacles and caves, as well as raised beaches from the ice age. Golden eagles, sea eagles, otters, seals and not forgetting the 5,000 red deer which inhabit the island are all a common sight, and carry on about their business uninhibited by humans.
Jura is an island rich in history and legend. Excavations show it welcomed some of the oldest settlements in Scotland over 8,000 years ago. It also became a Viking stronghold, while its ancient graveyard at Kilearnadil boasts the resting places of a number of Knights Templar and, reputedly, a saint. The Corryvreckan whirlpool – apparently the world’s second most powerful – nearly claimed the life of George Orwell. Orwell stayed at Barnhill on Jura where he wrote his book 1984.
We can run bispoke trips to visit distilleries on Islay to suite your requirements.