The Nevis Ensemble played at Barra Airport in August 2019
Barra Airport has been featured in many documentaries and films over the years and boasts being one of the only airports in the world where you can still land on the beach.
The island is one of the most southerly of the inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides and is famous for being the last resting place of author Compton Mackenzie who wrote the famous novel, Whisky Galore. The island is only five miles wide by eight miles long and has one ring road all the way around.
Even on such a compact island as Barra, you can enjoy most outdoor activities including cycling on secluded roads, walking, great heritage sites and abundant wildlife – including dolphins. You can join the locals who are renowned for their ceilidh dances and social gatherings as all are welcome.
Barra is most famous for being able to land on the beach – but once you have experienced this unique landing, there is a lot more waiting for you to discover!
Special Landing Procedures
Special procedures apply to ensure the safety of flights at the airport, which include no public access to the beach when the airport wind sock is flying. A strobe light on the air traffic control tower warns of imminent aircraft movements. Visitors and locals alike are asked to observe these restrictions.
History of Barra Airport
It was in June 1936 at the same time as a small grass airfield opened its first passenger terminal on land next to Gatwick racecourse that a fledgling Scottish airline first introduced calls on demand at Barra in Scotland. Whereas the Sussex airport developed into a great international airport, the Traigh Mhor at Barra has seen less change but continues to be a valuable community facility. Through the visions of such early pioneers as Fresson, Sword and Nicholson, islands were among the first places in the UK to benefit from air transport and few would deny that Barra would be the poorer without its air link.
The schedule is still governed by the ebb and flow of the tide and the airfield is surely one of the most beautiful locations in the Western isles.
The Air Ministry officially licensed Traigh Mhor as an airfield on 7th August 1936 and a daily service was promoted in the Oban Times from early July that year. The single fare from Barra to Glasgow in the winter of 1936 was £4, while a 90 day return was available for £7 17s 6d. By the winter of 1983, the cost of a single fare had risen to £40.
In October 1974, Loganair began operating Glasgow-Tiree-Barra under contract to British Airways, and they took over the service in their own right in April 1975. In 1994, the responsibility for Barra airport passed from Loganair to Highland and Islands Airports Limited. And in the summer of that year, a one way fare to Glasgow was £80.
The above information is taken from “Times subject to Tides” by Roy Calderwood published by Kea Publishing – www.keapublishing.com
More Tourist Information
For the latest tourist information, what’s on, places to visit and accommodation, please visit ourVisitors Section within the Barra airport site, or please go to www.visithebrides.com or from VisitScotland at www.visitscotland.com.