The Corryvreckan Whirlpool

The Gulf of Corryvreckan is home to a massive whirlpool. Located between the islands of Jura and Scarba, the Corryvreckan Whirlpool is among the largest on Earth. Currents typically reach speeds above 10 knots. The fierce waters create waves so powerful they can be heard 6 miles (10 km) away. The powerful currents result from the merging of different tides together in one spot. These tides are from the tip of the island and east and west of Jura. As a result, an underwater basalt pillar forms and forces water up towards the surface. This pillar is also referred to as “The Old Hag.” Water continually comes into contact with the sides of the channel, thus creating the whirlpool. According to legend, the whirlpool is named after a king known as Norse Breachan. In order to marry the princess of the isles, the king was forced to undergo a trial of bravery: anchoring his boat with three different ropes, made from wool, virgin hair and hemp.