“I arrived on Barra late in the evening and luckily I had arranged to stay at a Bed and Breakfast very close to the slipway. When the ferry pulled, in there was so much hustle and bustle and as it was late, the area surrounding the ferry and the slipway was lit up like a night-time football match.
Next day, as I had no transport, I decided to catch the local Postbus and use it to give me a guided tour around the island. As I made my way on the ring road, I found myself marvelling at the myriad of exotic-looking beaches strewn around the coast of Barra. They really are beautiful. Unfortunately for me, I was visiting at the beginning of Spring, so there was still a mild chill in the air.
I spent my days on Barra going for long walks around Castlebay and visiting other villages using the postbus. Strangely, one of the highlights of my trip to Barra was departing. This was because I had decided to fly back to the mainland using the worlds only beach runway to take off. Another truly unforgettable experience ….”
How do I get to Barra? You can fly to Barra with Flybe from Belfast, Benbecula, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Glasgow, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kirkwall, Manchester, Southampton and Stornoway. Most of these flights are via Glasgow or Benbecula. The Caledonian Macbrayne Car Ferry leaves from Oban on the west coast of Scotland on a daily basis. There is also a Car Ferry available from Eriskay, in the Outer Hebrides, which leaves five times a day in the summer.
How do I get around Barra? There are three Bus routes on Barra. These routes cover the following places – Northbay, Traigh Mhor Airport, Ardmhor Slipway Eoligarry, Brevig, Borve and the neighbouring island of Vatersay. Car and Bike hire is available at Barra Cycle Hire. Taxi’s are available from Barra Taxi’s based in Borve. Tours of the Outer Hebrides – including Barra are available through Shearings Holidays.
What’s worth visiting on Barra? Kisimul Castle is a medieval islet fortress, which is the ancestral home of the Clan MacNeil. The deserted village of Balnabodach is located on the eastern side of Barra, overlooking Loch Obe. The Barra Heritage Centre offers exhibitions that reflect life on Barra and the neighbouring islands. There is a 9 hole Golf Course at Barra Golf Club.
Where can I stay on Barra? There are four hotels on Barra. They are the Castlebay Hotel, Craigard Hotel, Heathbank Hotel and the Isle of Barra Beach Hotel. There is also Bed and Breakfast available at Hillside B&B and Tigh-Na-Mara Guest House, both in Castlebay, Bayview Guest House near Vatersay, Orosay near the quiet village of Earsary. Self-catering is available at Glen Plantation, Bentangaval and The Old School at Brevig. Camping is available at Borve Caravan and Camping site and Croft No2 Camp Site and wild camping is allowed in some areas. Dunard Hostel is also available in Castlebay.
Any other information on Barra? On Barra, planes land and take off from the shell sands of Traigh Mhor, otherwise known as the ‘Cockle Strand’. Flights can only land and take off when the tide is out! For more information on Barra, read my Blog Post, ‘The most scenic Airport in the world‘