travel postcards, practical advice, images and snippets of randomness

When we want to express something as being remote, far away or lost completely, you may hear people in Britain say: ‘it might as well be in Timbuktu’ – we use this as it sounds exotic, distant, and many don’t even realise that its a real place. Another place name used to express this remoteness is ‘the Outer Hebrides’, with the phrase being used in a similar manner to above. This ‘remoteness’ adds to the mystery of the place and gave me a desire to visit.

Many years ago I flew over the Outer Hebrides, on a flight to the west coast of the USA; the view was clear and it was possible to see huge sweeping bays with blue seas and white sand – this was not what I had expected to see in this part of Britain and this too made me keen to visit at some time in the future.
I made it there eventually; in April 2012 – to just one of the islands for now: Barra.

The reason for choosing Barra – apart from the location – was that it has the only airport in the world that uses the beach as a runway for scheduled flights.

First question: where is it?

Scotland, showing location of Barra, Outer Hebrides

Some random images to give a flavour…

Barra - the Airport Beach

Barra - the Airport Beach

 

Barra Airport Panorama - click for full size

Barra Airport Panorama - click for full size

 

Barra - Castlebay with Kisimul Castle

Barra - Castlebay with Kisimul Castle

Castlebay is as busy as it gets; couple of hotels, couple of restaurants and a convenience store, a small supermarket and a petrol station. There is a bank with ATM.

Barra - Kisimul Castle

Barra - Kisimul Castle

 

Barra - the causeway to Vatersay

Barra - the causeway to Vatersay

The neighbouring island of Vatersay is connected with a causeway, Vatersay is a good place to spot otters.

Vatersay beach

Vatersay beach

 

Vatersay beach

Vatersay beach

Above is the westerly beach of Vatersay, in September 1853 an emigrant ship from Liverpool, bound for Canada ran aground on this beach with an almost total loss of life; some 350 persons are buried in these dunes.

Vatersay crashed plane

Vatersay crashed plane

Another Vatersay disaster: on the 12th May 1944 a Catalina Flying Boat crashed into Vatersay, 3 died, but 6 survived. The remains of the plane survive remarkably well.

Vatersay road

Vatersay road

 

Barra - east coast

Barra - east coast

 

Barra - Standing Stone

Barra - Standing Stone

 

Barra - east coast

Barra - east coast

 

Barra - Vatersay

Barra - Vatersay

 

Barra - Vatersay - Ferry

Barra - Vatersay - Ferry

 

Barra - Vatersay - Cow

Barra - Vatersay - Cow

 

Barra - Vatersay

Barra - Vatersay

 

Barra - west coast

Barra - west coast

 

Barra - west coast

Barra - west coast

 

Barra - west coast

Barra - west coast

 

Barra - lamb

Barra - lamb

 

Barra - floral

Barra - floral

 

Barra - sunset

Barra - sunset

 

Barra - sunset

Barra - sunset

See also Barra – the flights

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