Britain 09 - Day 22
Saturday was our day to circumnavigate Barra and Vatersay before taking the Calmac ferry across to Eriskay on South Uist.
Barra and Vatersay
The day remained overcast but the showers held off - mostly. After a pleasant breakfast overlooking Castlebay we headed west and north around Barra. This is a small island with a long history, and is very rocky and windswept. We drove past the Barra airport built on the sandy beach, then on to stormy rocky beaches before circling back to Castlebay and the local museum. We were most interested in the coffee and cakes at the museum, which was fortunate because the main museum exhibits had already closed for the season. Then it was back to the airport to watch a plane land on the sand, before finding the ferry for the quick trip across to Eriskay and South Uist.
The northern part of Barra
At the northern end of Barra, the coast is dominated on the west by gravel beaches and on the east by fine sandy beaches, due to the influence of the Atlantic.
The Island of Vatersay
South of Barra, and joined to it by a short causeway is Vatersay. This small island has a turbulent history of shipwrecks, plane wrecks and land occupation. We drove across to Vatersay to visit the memorial to the crew and passengers on the emmigrant ship "Annie Jane" that was wrecked here on 28 August 1853. On the way we passed the memorial to the crew of the Catalina aircraft that crashed on Vatersay in 1944.
At the northern end of Barrra lies the airport. It has the usual terminal building and control tower but the runway disappears at high tide. The small planes use the sandy tidal plain so flight times are controlled by the tides. When we arrived in the morning, the windsock was not flying and the airport was deserted. Later in the day a vehicle drove up, hoisted the windsock and the airport was in business. A short while later an aircraft appeared and landed on the sand.
The Calmac Ferry to South Uist
The Calmac Ferry sails from a new jerry at Aird Mhor passing various islands on its way to the small island of Eriskay. From there you cross a causeway onto South Uist.
From Eriskay we crossed the causeway onto South Uist (our fourth Hebridean island), drove the short distance past the fishing harbour on the south coast and around to our hotel at Polochar.
Last updated: 16/06/2017