We’re feeling very blessed to be able to see our loved ones after a long time on strict lockdown, although it’s still from a safe distance, it sure does feel good to experience a portion of reality! It got us thinking all about Summer and all the great gatherings it brings to us here on the Isle of Barra, which unfortunately won’t be going ahead this year.
Let’s start with one of the biggest weekends of the year on Barra, The Barrathon! This half marathon captures the attention of many athletes and we see hundreds of visitors journeying to Barra to compete, that’s if they are lucky enough to get an entry due to its popularity! This is quite a big deal on our Island Home as we watch athletes, both visitors and locals take on the circumference of Barra starting and finishing in Castlebay. Once the hard work is done, it’s time to let your hair down at the Ceilidh which is hosted in Castlebay School for a few drams and Barra G&T’s. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t ‘pop’ into the Castlebay Bar for a few too!
The Fisherman’s Mass, a beautiful tradition on Barra where all local fisherman anchors their boat at Castlebay Pier to allow them to be blessed. Canon John Paul MacKinnon carries out the Mass and the Blessings ensuring the safety of all those out at sea for the coming year. It’s quite the gathering, both locals and visitors bundle in, the colourful bunting is pinned high across the pier with the scent of mackerel surrounding Castlebay as it grills for everyone to taste.
This next gathering is a classic and one that many people cannot believe is carried out on Barra. It was mentioned in last week’s journal briefly for those of you that are keeping up. It is of course, The Potato Competition at Castlebay Bar! Yes, you read right, The Potato Competition is another big tradition on Barra, where the spuds are judged on taste by a panel and for a bit of fun, there is also the ‘best dressed’ spud competition too! The creativity of dressing the potatoes up is very impressive and on another level! This day gathering turns in to a bit of a session with live music and ice-cold drams flowing, what’s not to love!
Finally, we have the Barra Football Dance, originally known as Barra Live and Barra Fest. This great night out is organised by the Barra Football Team each Summer and we see the marquee peaking on the Machair on the lead up, adding to the excitement. The night itself is brilliant craic and we get to soak up the live music of many talented bands whilst catching up with friends and family!
We’re very lucky to have such wonderful events and traditions throughout the Summertime.
Though these events and gatherings will be dearly missed by all this year, we are confident next year will be even bigger and better and we are already looking forward to it!