Difference between revisions of "Barra"
Revision as of 22:56, 15 February 2013
Barra  is an island in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The island has a population of 1078, and is connected by causeway to Vatersay in the south and by ferry to Eriskay (and hence South Uist) in the north. The airport is one of only two in the world where scheduled flights land on a beach runway. The main settlement is Castlebay.
Barra is a predominately Catholic island, so there are fewer restrictions on Sunday activities (shops etc) than the islands further North. There are also some wayside shrines which is unusual in Scotland.
The Tourist Information Office  is in Main Street, Castlebay (01871 810336) and open from Easter to October only (usually opens for evening ferry arrivals). Coming off the ferry, take the right fork in the road and head up past the shops.
Caledonian MacBrayne  operate to Barra from Oban on the mainland, Eriskay and Lochboisdale on South Uist. ScotRail  trains from Glasgow via the West Highland Line and Citylink  coaches from Glasgow, Fort William and, in the summer, Dundee connect with the ferries in Oban.
The ferry from Oban to Castlebay takes 5+ hours. In the summer, one journey per week travels via Coll and Tiree. During the winter (October - March) the Oban - Castlebay service operates only four days a week, with train connections from Glasgow on certain days only.
The ferry from Eriskay operates daily up to 5 times per day, with the crossing taking 40 minutes. This ferry lands at the north end of the island, and there are often (but not always) connecting buses to Castlebay.
Barra Airport uses the beach as the runway, which means that flight times vary with the tide. Flights from Glasgow and Benbecula on most days (weather permitting) are operated by Loganair as a franchise of FlyeBe . The prices of the flight from Benbecula to Barra are fixed and well worth the experience.
Barra is linked by causeway to Vatersay to the South.
By bus and ferry
Castlebay village can easily be explored on foot.
There are good bus services during the day Monday to Saturday, but little in the evening and none on Sundays. Timetables may be found here.
There are three bus routes:
The buses on Barra form part of a much larger network covering the length of the Western Isles, including a complete journey northbound and southbound to/from Ness. All Western Isles timetables may be found here.
The meals in the hotels in Castlebay can be good, especially the fresh local fish and shellfish.
Booking ahead is recommended as the island can get fully booked at popular times.
Bed & breakfast
Some can be found on the tourist board website , but many are no longer listed due to the charges and "hassle".
Renting a house for a week or more is a popular option. Such places are generally let from Saturday to Saturday. Some of these can be found on the tourist board website .