Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Isle of Barra, Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles). This — with its satellite islands of Vatersay, Mingulay, and Berneray — lies at the southernmost and westerly end of the Outer Hebrides. It is some 50 miles as the crow flies from the western mainland of Scotland. By boat the journey to Barra, the remotest inhabited part of western Scotland, takes a full day or a full night from Oban or from Mallaig. There is a regular air service to the island from Glasgow. Barra is 8 miles long, 5 miles wide, and the road round its coast, rocky on the East, delicately decorated with beautiful Hebridean sand to the West, covers 14 miles. The inhabitants of Barra number at least 1,000. Only about 100 people live on Vatersay.
Barra — of which Castlebay, with Kisimul Castle lying on a rock just offshore, is the focal point — has a characteristic Outer Hebridean appearance. At first glance austere and bare, it soon reveals flashes of soft colouring; and its apparent bareness is relieved by the scattered crofts all over the island. It has one large hill, Ben Heaval (1,260 ft), and lesser undulations. Of its four lochs, some contain brown trout and sea-trout. Barra and its sister isles have an air of great peace and charm.
But it is the people of Barra who present the chief attraction of the place. All speak Gaelic as well as English, and are fluent, courteous, and hospitable. They live by fishing, crofting, and occasionally by taking in visitors. Nearly all of them are of Hebridean or West Highland indigenous Catholic stock. There are three Catholic churches on the island, and one belonging to the Church of Scotland. Whether Catholic or Protestant, the Barraman is a great raconteur. Some of the most ancient Hebridean and Highland legends known to exist have been preserved over the centuries in the mouths of the Barra story-tellers. The population of Barra suffered grievously at the time of the later Highland Clearances, but the indomitable spirit they showed has won them their reward. They are still there. They have not forgotten their sufferings, but are quite unembittered. Barra was used as location for the film Whisky Galore. The events on which the film was based took place between Barra and South Uist.
Nearby islands: Isle of Benbecula, Isle of Coll, Isle of Eriskay, Isle of Mull, Isle of Skye, Isle of South Uist, Isle of Tiree
Nearby towns: Castlebay, Mallaig, Oban
Have you decided to visit or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a bed and breakfast (a B&B or b and b)
- a guesthouse
- a hotel (or motel)
- a self-catering establishment, or
- other accommodation