Isle of Barra,
Barra measures only 8 miles from north
to South, and about 6 miles from east to west. The Isle of Barra is
the home of the Clan MacNeil. Barra is also where you will find Kisimul Castle, the
stronghold of the Clan MacNeil. Barra can be reached by a five hour journey on a
ferry from Oban, or you can fly there. Planes can only land at low tide however as
the airport on Barra uses a cockle strand beach as the runway!
The Isle of Barra is considered by many to be the most beautiful little island in Britain.
It's tranquility, distinctive culture and fascinating history make any visit to Barra an
exclusive and memorable one.
There are lots of different bus routes through the Uists and Barra. These routes are
listed on the Official Western Isles Tourist Board web site. This
Highlands and Islands travel timetable book is updated each year in April. You
can pick up free sheets with timetables for each route from tourist offices in the Western
Isles and at Stornoway bus station. If you need the times before your arrival, you can
contact the local tourist office (Telephone: 01851 703088 / Fax: 01851 705244) with your
enquiries and they might fax you the times back. Buses generally run in time with the
ferries and there are less in winter than in summer.
An excellent place for cycling, Barra's main road loops twelve miles around the island. At
Northbay, an offshoot takes you up the Eoligarry peninsula to Barra's northern tip. The
local Post bus running between Castlebay and the airport takes on passengers for a small
Barra is also home to the most western golf course in the British Isles. Located in
Clete, it is a nine hole course with fenced greens to keep the cattle
off. The Barra course has a "preferred lies" rule that allows you to move
your ball one club length from any lie one the course. It could be that the roaming
cattle are the reason for that rule! The Barra course features some of
the most outstanding views of the ocean around the Isle. Seals can
often be seen playing in the surf just offshore.
At the 2001 census the resident population was
1,078, and mostly Roman Catholic. The area of Barra is 35 square miles, the
main village being Castlebay. Barra is now linked by a man-made causeway to
the neighbouring island of Vatersay.
Barra is abundant with stunning scenery, rare
flowers and wildlife, which can be appreciated by coastal or hill walks,
drives or cycle rides along the various small roads. Car and bicycle hire
are available locally.
Some of you may have read the wonderful book Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie. It
is set on the fictional isles of Great and Little Todday, and is the story of what happens
when a ship full of Scotch runs aground on a very small island during a period of wartime