Image: David Savile 

Barra is a special place to visit – especially memorable if you fly in because of the beach landing strip. Washed by the tide twice a day, Traigh Mhor beach is reputed to be the only beach runway in the world to handle scheduled airline services.  Not surprisingly, Barra Airport has been featured in many documentaries and films over the years.

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.

The most southerly of the inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides, Barra was the stronghold of the Clan MacNeil and the last resting place of the author Compton Mackenzie, who wrote the famous novel Whisky Galore. The novel is a romanticised version of the facts of the 1941 shipwreck of the SS Politician and subsequent salvage of 240,000 bottles of whisky by the islanders of neighbouring Ersikay.

Today, Barra offers a wealth of experiences for its visitors and everyone landing on Barra has the opportunity to purchase their own special certificate of the experience.

Barra has the most compact package of interests including:

  • Cycling on secluded roads – call Barra Bike Hire on 01871 810950 or 07876 402842
  • Walking, Heritage and Wildlife
  • Flora and Fauna – with over 1,000 different species of wild flowers
  • Stunning coastal scenery
  • Dolphins can be seen in the waters around Barra
  • The main harbour is in Castlebay where the impressive Kisimul Castle can be found – ancient seat of the Clan MacNeil
  • The causeway from Barra links to the white sands of the nearby Isle of Vatersay which can be seen from Castlebay
  • The community on the island are renowned for their hospitality and their ceilidh dances and social gatherings welcome locals and visitors alike!

Further information and local information can be found at Castlebay Tourist Information Centre using the below details. It is open from April to October:

Castlebay Tourist Information Centre
Main Street, Castlebay, Isle of Barra, HS9 5XD

Try Isle of Barra for more details of what’s on and things to see and do on the island. 

Golf on Barra
An amazingly designed course based at Greian head offers players 9 holes of golf. The course makes full use of the natural landscape, including undulating fairways, rocky outcrops and possibly one of the world’s largest bunkers on the fourth hole.

The natural turf of the machair provides an excellent playing surface and there are elevated links with natural contours. Green fees are payable at the local hotels, the Tourist Information Centre and Co-Chomumm Bharraidh with charges of around £5 per day. Membership is also available.