Charles and I are at Port Askaig waiting for the ferry to Jura. Since we’ve got about an hour to kill, I suggest we go somewhere for a beer.
“There are only two pubs around here,” Charles says. “The bar at the Port Askaig Hotel, right next to the ferry landing, is terribly civilized. I’d suggest that.”
“What about the other place?” I ask him.
He shakes his head. “It’s just down the street but I couldn’t recommend it to you. It’s the sort of place where you walk in to the crack of cue balls and the sound of women fighting.”
So that’s where we go.
Unfortunately, there are no women fighting when we show up. Too early in the day, Charles says. While we sip on our drams of 10 year old Bruichladdich (with McEwan backs), Charles tells me a bit about Jura.
The ferry takes only five minutes, he says. In fact, the Sound of Jura is so narrow here that often times deer will try to swim across it, thinking Islay’s hills look greener.
“Not many make it,” he says, “but you hear stories every once in awhile of a fisherman catching one in a net.”
Charles says there are 170 people on Jura and at least 6,000 red deer. “Even in 1800 there were 2,000 people living on Jura. But not anymore.” There are so many deer on the island that even though they allow hunters to shoot almost a thousand deer a year, it doesn’t make a dent. In fact, says Charles, slugging down the rest of his whisky, there are so many deer on Jura “it’s a wonder they have not yet kicked the islanders off in a revolt.”
And with that we head back to Port Askaig and the ferry.
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