An island of the Inner Hebrides, Jura is separated from the Knapdale district of Argyll and Bute to the east by the Sound of Jura and from the island of Islay to the southwest by the narrow Sound of Islay. To the north, the Strait of Corryvreckan, with its notorious whirlpools, separates Jura from the island of Scarba. Extending 27 miles (43 km) northeast-southwest and 8 miles (13 km) at its widest, the island rises to a height of 785m (2571 feet) at Beinn an Oir, one of the three distinctive conical peaks known as the Paps of Jura. Jura is nearly bisected by Loch Tarbert. Noted for its well-defined raised beaches and large caves, the island's geology comprises a mixture of granite, blue slate, micaceous sandstone and the largest area of metamorphic quartzite in the Highlands and Islands. Covered in extensive areas of blanket bog, the total area of Jura is 36,692 ha (90,666 acres). Most of the island's population live in Craighouse which sits on a bay on the east coast protected by a string of islets known as the Small Isles. A 19th-century whisky distillery here was reopened in 1963. Sold by the Clan Donald to the Campbells of Argyll in 1607, the island of Jura was a centre for the breeding of Highland cattle in the 18th and 19th centuries. The island is also associated with the Clan Maclean. In 1767 the depopulation of the island began when 50 of the island's 1100 crofters sailed from Jura to settle in Canada. After the introduction of sheep in the 1840s, population decline accelerated. It dropped to 249 in 1961, 210 (1971), 228 (1981), 196 (1991) and 188 (2001), with a modest recovery to 196 (2011). Today, much of the land is given over to deer stalking. The island is linked by ferry to Port Askaig, Port Ellen and Kennacraig and a single road follows the east coast as far north as Inverlussa. A track continues northwards past Barnhill where the novelist George Orwell spent much of his final years and where he wrote 1984.

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