Are you planning your staycation for summertime? The Isle of Barra may be on your radar already, but we would like to share more about our precious home with you in this week’s journal. In advance, we apologise for the added temptation and hope to see you on Barra soon!
Our ‘wee’ island is home to just 1,300 people, who live throughout the land that stretches 60 km2 approximately in area. By single track road, it’s achievable to drive around Barra in just 20-30 minutes. Although, we strongly advise you keep both hands on the steering wheel as you spin around the sharp corners and bumpy roads. But don’t forget, it’s a small place where everyone knows everyone, so make sure to give a friendly wave back to the locals that are waving enthusiastically at you.
With the sea visible from almost every location on the island, you’ll find yourself on the scenic route at all times, while the core of the island remains inhabited and peaked with hilltops. Including Ben Heaval which is the highest and most-known hill on the land. Reaching 383 meters above sea level, Heaval stands proudly, providing panoramic views of Barra’s coastline. From the rocky edges of the east & south side to the tranquil turquoise waters and golden beaches of the north & west, it’s a true feast for the eyes!
Three quarters of the way to the top of Heaval, you’ll also find the statue of Our Lady Star of the Sea that overlooks Castlebay and the small isles. An iconic statue and monument which is visited by many from far and wide for capturing the famous photograph.
For a small island, it’s fair to say that Barra has its rich share of treasures to enjoy and one of our all-time favourites has to be the bucket list scheduled flight that lands on the beach. Voted as one of the most stunning airport locations in the world, our daily scheduled flight with Loganair gains a large volume of attention.
Community spirit is at the heart of our island home and you’re never far away from a helping hand or familiar face. Not to mention an offer of a lift while walking along the road, especially when the rains on…which can happen all too often with our unpredictable weather forecast! There is many a day where we experience four seasons within 24 hours, it’s really quite hard to believe, but adds to the experience of island life and living on the edge. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.
Surrounded by sea, it’s an absolute must that you should try the local seafood. Available from Barratlantic Ltd, you’ll be able to purchase fresh fish and shellfish to cook and enjoy in your self-catering accommodation. Or eating out at the local hotels and restaurants, where you’ll find local produce on each menu.
During the day, we’d highly recommend a visit to Hebridean Toffee, for a great selection of meals, coffees and cakes – all of which can be enjoyed from their seated decking area that overlooks the bay in all its glory.
In the evening, it’s a necessity to grab a table at Café Kisimul, although booking in advance is highly recommended. Famous for the scallop pakora, you’ll enjoy the delightful curries on offer from this fantastic family run business which is located down ‘the street’ in Castlebay.
Not forgetting the four hotels on our island home – Castlebay Hotel, Craigard Hotel, Isle of Barra Beach Hotel and Heathbank Hotel – you’ll also enjoy a fantastic menu, warm hospitality, and a good Barra G&T!
Last but definitely not least, our beaches! We’re lost for words to describe just how incredible our beaches are. An abundance of pure white sand stretches the coast for miles. Met with turquoise, green and blue waters you feel as though you’re on an exotic island in the Caribbean. The best part of all, is that nine out of ten times, you have it all to yourself. It’s not often you can walk along a beach and be the only person there!
We hope to welcome you to our island home in the very near future, if not this summer season!