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Your flight in a Twin Otter plane departs from Glasgow with timings varying with the tides! You will be in the air for around an hour, and on a clear day, the views of the lochs, mountains and meandering coastline are stunning. As you approach Barra, watch for the sandy beaches revealing themselves below, before the once-in-a-lifetime experience of landing on the Cockle Strand.
This is largely a Gaelic-speaking community with the hub being the port of Castlebay site of historic Kisimul Castle. Barra boasts myriad species of wildflowers and some stunning coastal scenery including the twin beaches of neighbouring Vatersay, with spectacular views back to Castlebay. Across the sound is the Isle of Eriskay – renowned setting of the novel ‘Whisky Galore’. Much of the film of the same name was set on Barra, though – you may recognise the street in Castlebay.
Originally built as a church and mission house in the mid-nineteenth century, your whitewashed hotel enjoys a fine location overlooking the bay with easy access to both the ferry port and Barra’s unique beachfront airstrip at Cockle Strand. In its previous incarnation as a guest house, it played host to several cast members of the classic 1948 film Whisky Galore before upgrading to hotel status in 1974, whereupon Northbay could boast its first licensed premises since the closure of the old inn decades earlier.
The hotel was extensively renovated recently and now has five comfortable en-suite bedrooms furnished in a contemporary style, some with a DVD player. The cheerful public bar – whose walls are over 3 feet thick – is a pleasant place to sit and observe the fishing activity across the bay at Ardveenish pier, or to while away an evening listening to the friendly locals share their colourful tales of island life. Meals are served in the bar, or you can opt for the quieter dining room, whose menu features tempting island produce with an emphasis on locally landed fresh fish and shellfish.
Take a walk along the sparkling white sands of Cockle Strand and enjoy home-baking at the airport while watching planes landing at low tide – an unforgettable sight. Drive or cycle up to Eoligarry and feast your eyes on the springtime profusion of primroses as you gaze across the sound to Fuday, Eriskay and South Uist in the distance. Or head south to Castlebay, the island capital, and visit Kisimul Castle, restored ancestral home of the clan MacNeil. Stop off at the highly informative Heritage Centre, where you can enjoy coffee and refreshments, before perhaps taking a picnic across the causeway to Vatersay, with its glorious twin beaches.
Take off once more from Cockle Strand and return to Glasgow.
The Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.
£335 per person for April & October, £365 per person for May through September.
Prices based on two people sharing a double or twin room ensuite, for two nights on a bed & breakfast basis. Price includes return flights from Glasgow to Barra. We can also pre-book car hire, though this must be paid locally. Please ask us for more details.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
Loved the experience of flying in the tiny plane and landing on the sand. Also found Barra to be a very beautiful island, well worth a visit.Ann & Family, Glasgow, Scotland
This was a really amazing experience. My favorite part was definitely the actual landing on the sandy beach.Jeannine, Virginia, USA
It was just magical from start to finish!Catherine & David, West Yorkshire, England
This holiday is available from April to October, departing any day of the week apart from Fridays and Sundays.
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.
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