Barra is the most southernly of the inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides.
Long famed for its beauty – boasting beaches, hills, machair (grassy plains) and moors all in a small island – Barra is a special place to visit, especially if you arrive by plane.
The airport is one of the most unusual in the world, with flights landing on the beach at Cockle Strand in between tides. At high tide the runway disappears beneath the waves. Barra is also accessible by ferry, which departs from Oban and arrives at the main settlement, Castlebay.
Barra was the stronghold of the Clan MacNeil and last resting place of the author Compton Mackenzie, who wrote Whisky Galore – a romanticised story based on the facts of the 1941 shipwreck of the SS Politician and subsequent salvage of 240,000 bottles of whisky by the islanders of neighbouring Eriskay.
This is a stunning backdrop for some great outdoor discoveries. Take a five minute boat trip from Castlebay to the medieval Kisimul Castle, the ‘Castle in the Sea’, which sits dramatically on a rock islet in the bay. This three storey tower house is the ancient seat of the Clan MacNeil, and gives great views from the battlements. Stroll along beautiful white sandy beaches, such as Tangasdale, or enjoy breathtaking scenery as you cycle or walk around this small, but incredibly beautiful island. For an amazing sea kayaking experience, take to the water on a guided tour with Clearwater Paddling from Castlebay and explore a world of beautiful islands and sheltered bays, or play a round or two at Barra Golf Club, the most westerly golf course in the UK.
Learn about the culture, history and language of Barra at the island’s heritage centre, Dualchas, where the two main galleries present a changing programme of local history displays, art exhibitions and cultural events.