Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Merry Christmas!

Todays photos are brought to you courtesy of Auntie D - or at least courtesy of the money she kindly gave us for Christmas that today took us across to Barra on the ferry for a thoroughly enjoyable day out! We had hoped to do the flights across, landing on the beach runway at Barra Airport, but unfortunately the tides didn't work in our favour this time round so the timings were too tight - too much risk of getting caught on the wrong island! Instead we booked us and Gracie the Renault Clio onto the ferry this morning and back this evening - leaving from here at 8am and ambling down through the islands to Eriskay. The light at that time of the morning was fantastic - we stopped briefly at Loch Bee......

...then headed on, arriving on the beautiful Island of Eriskay in plenty of time for the ferry. Excellent - time to walk up the road and get a shot of a lovely beach...

...That is "Princes Strand" or in Gaelic Coilleag a'Phrionnsa - believed to be the place where Charles Stewart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") first set foot on Scottish soil. Be that as it may it's a most beautiful place and always nice for a quick walk if you've time. No chance for that today though as CalMac ferry Loch Alainn pulled up to the jetty and on we went. It's always fascinating getting an inter-island ferry - a lot more than just cars and people is carried - today it was the post for Barra (the flight times were wrong to allow the post to fly in directly, so it will have been flown to Benbecula and then transferred on to Barra via van & ferry), as well as a parcel from the South Uist Ambulance Service to the Barra one, via a helpful van driver! It was a quiet crossing, only about 5 vehicles going across and one fewer than than on the way back.

Barra is a beautiful island, and you also have Vatersay to explore as they are linked via causeway. We sat and ate lunch on Vatersay on the most amazing beach - it was incredibly warm, the sand was so white it almost hurt the eyes and the sea was a perfect shade of turquoise! Bliss! We then went for a look at the wreckage of a Catalina plane which crashed on the island during the second world war - incredibly it still lies where it fell, there is now a small memorial for those who lost their lives which is nice to see. Anywhere else if it hadn't been removed by the council ('Elfen Safety you know!) it would have been stolen by treasure-hunters, but on Vatersay it is treated with respect and left to lie.

There is a circular road running around Barra so the easiest way to see the whole island is to drive around that. We walked around it once - it's 14 miles, and our feet were fairly sore by the time we got back to the starting point! Today though Gracie took the strain, obligingly stoppoing time and time again for us to look at something, or take photos, or identify birds. We saw a pair of Linnets which was a first for both of us, and, on the crossing back, masses of Great Northern divers just changing from their winter plumage - I'll leave you with one of those!


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