WHAT TO DO IN BARRA (Barraigh)

Fly to Barra and land at Traigh Mhor on the beach runway. These are the only scheduled
air services that are timetabled according to the tides. Visitors are welcome to watch the
twin otter planes land and depart from the beach. Barra has no less than eight sandy
beaches of which Halaman Bay is perfect for surfing and swimming. They are all backed by
machair that is full of colour from the blooms of the wildflowers.

Castlebay is the main port for the ferry service from Oban and it is also the main township
with hotels, a supermarket, cafés, a bank, petrol station, tourist information, swimming pool
and sports centre. There is also the Dualchas Heritage Centre where exhibits showcase the
island’s history.

Kisimul Castle is the historic seat of the Chief of Clan MacNeil; only accessible by small
boat and the last complete medieval castle on the Western Isles. Definitely worth a visit and
there’s even a castle shop.

 

Whereas the west coast of Barra is all about spectacular wide sandy beaches, the east is
all about lochs, moorland, hills and rocky terrain. Heaval measures 383m tall and is the
highest peak on the island. On your walk up, you will come across a white marble statue of
the the Madonna and Child, this is ‘Our Lady of the Sea’.

Understand the importance of the past on the present with visits to a few of the many
archaeological sites that cover over 6000 years of human settlement, from Brochs to Tombs
to Standing Stones. Explore the deserted village of Balnabodach or investigate Allt Chrisal,
Cille Barra, Dun Culer, Dun Bharpa, to name only a few sites.

If golf is more your cup of tea, then play the most westerly nine hole course in the UK with
views across the Atlantic Ocean. Puffins are among the wildlife to be found on the deserted
island of Mingulay. You can take a boat trip out to the island and enjoy some sea angling as
well as enjoying the excellent loch fishing opportunities, once on Mingulay. There is also
bike hire, sea kayaking and power-kiting from the island.

Sir Compton Mackenzie, author of the novel Whiskey Galore is buried at Cille Bharra
cemetery, his grave marked only with a simple cross. His book was turned into a comedy
film and in 1949 the fictionalised story of the 1941 running aground of the SS Politician and
the looting of some 50,000 cases of whiskey was filmed in Barra.

Whatever and wherever you choose to visit you, you will feel the strong sense of community
that has been created by the inhabitants of the island.

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