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For a small island, Barra fits a lot in, with soaring mountains, fine beaches, a romantic castle and an awesome view round every corner of its single-track circular road.

The Isle of Barra lies at the southern end of the Outer Hebrides and has long been renowned for its charm, with beaches and hills, machair and moorland, all packed into a small island. As we sail into Castlebay on the ferry from Oban we pass Kisimul Castle, the 12th century stronghold of the Clan MacNeil, which stands guard over the bay and provides a stirring and romantic welcome to the island. We will be based at the Isle of Barra Hotel, which is superbly situated overlooking a fine, sandy beach and is noted for its excellent cuisine and friendly service.

 

 

From here we will explore the wild hills and secluded bays of the island, including the famous Cockleshell Beach which, when the tide is out, serves as the island’s airstrip, and the neighbouring island of Vatersay with its brilliant white sandy beaches. We will also take the opportunity to cross by ferry to the neighbouring island of Eriskay and then by causeway to South Uist, with its ever-changing mountain scenery and colourful, flowery machair, which is home to corncrakes, wildfowl and waders. In the evenings it’s a case of relaxing in the lounge after a fine dinner or taking a stroll along the beach as the sun sinks into the Atlantic Ocean.

Available departure dates and prices

 

For a small island, Barra fits a lot in, with soaring mountains, fine beaches, a romantic castle and an awesome view round every corner of its single-track circular road.

Day 1

We depart from our designated pick up points and head for the Western Highlands, stopping en route for refreshments. On arrival in Oban we will board the afternoon ferry for Castlebay and the Isle of Barra, where we will arrive in the evening. Our base is the Isle of Barra Hotel, superbly located on Tangasdale Beach with stunning ocean views. A buffet supper is served on arrival.

Day 2

After breakfast we will take the ferry to the small island of Eriskay, just 3 miles long and 2 miles wide, with a great sandy beach known as Prince Charlie’s Bay – Bonnie Prince Charlie having landed here in July 1745. We continue by causeway to South Uist, the second largest island in the Western Isles and a stronghold of Gaelic culture and traditions. The western machair is carpeted in a profusion of wild flowers and is also a haven for birds, with the rare corncrake regularly sighted, along with waders and other waterfowl. Shimmering white sandy beaches, ancient standing stones and countless little freshwater lochs complete the South Uist experience.

We return to our hotel via the causeway and the ferry from Eriskay and dinner is served in the evening.

Day 3

After our full Scottish breakfast we will depart for a tour of the island, including a visit by boat to Kisimul Castle, the only surviving medieval castle in the Western Isles and the seat of the Clan MacNeil. The castle features a great hall, kitchen, chapel, dungeon and 60-foot tower, together with a shop. We will also visit Cockleshell Beach, the unique runway whose use is governed by the tides. On approaching the airport keep an eye out to the left for the much loved former home of Sir Compton Mackenzie, the author of ‘Whisky Galore’, which is forever associated with the island.  In fact, it was on the neighbouring island of Vatersay, which we will visit by means of the causeway linking the two islands, that the classic film adaptation was made. In the course of our tour today we also hope to see some of the 1000 species of wild flowers that grow on the island, particularly on the machair, the fertile, grassy pastures that lie between the moorland and the sea.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 4

This morning we will catch the morning ferry back to Oban. On arrival in Oban in the afternoon we continue our homeward journey, arriving back at our original pick-up points during the evening.

Included in the price

  • 3 nights’ bed and full breakfast at the comfortable Isle of Barra Hotel, Tangasdale Beach; two dinners and a late supper on arrival. All rooms have private facilities
  • Visit to Kisimul Castle and excursions as described
  • All coaching and ferry transfers
  • Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager

Not included (per person)

  • Single room supplement    £75.00
  • Insurance    £17.50 (under 65); £35.00 (65-74); £52.50 (75 – 90 years)
  • Rail/air travel and overnight accommodation in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Perth before or after the tour available on request

 

Departure points and times:

Depart Return
Aberdeen (Skene St) 0630 2300
Montrose (Outside Railway Station) 0715 2215
Arbroath (Outside Railway Station) 0735 2155
Dundee (Discovery Point) 0800 2130
Perth (Canal St) 0830 2100
Kinross (Moto Services, M90) 0930 2000
Dunfermline (Carnegie College) 0945 1945
Edinburgh (Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Rd) 1015 1915
Glasgow (Millennium Hotel, George Sq) 1130 1800

 

Please note pick-ups are subject to minimum numbers and all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

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It was a great holiday many thanks to everyone - lovely to be back on Barra after 48 years.

Mr MacNeil, Tampa, Florida

I really enjoyed my tour to the Outer Hebrides, the Stornoway Hotel was excellent and the Barra Hotel's location breathtaking.

John Wright, Toronto

The staff at our hotel on Islay were young and keen, very pleasant and helpful indeed.

Mr and Mrs Turner
 
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