There can be no more dramatic or romantic an arrival to an island than landing on a beach, and if there’s one beach where you can really make an entrance, it’s Traigh Mhòr on Barra, the most southerly of the inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides.
Hop on Flybe’s propeller plane in Glasgow (operated by Scottish island specialist airline Loganair) and about an hour later – after one of the most scenic flights of your life – you touch down right on to the sands of Traigh Mhor on this remote Hebridean island.
An Traigh Mhor is a 2-mile cockle shell strand that serves as the island’s runway, and as such, the airport is one of the most unusual in the world. It’s regularly voted one of the world’s top airport approaches, with flights landing on the beach working to a flexible timetable as the runway disappears twice a day under the incoming tide. In fact, Barra is the only beach airport anywhere in the world to be used for scheduled airline services.
The beach landing is a unique and wonderful experience, one of those bucket list moments that attracts visitors from around the world. But as well as the beach landing, Barra has so much to offer visitors, from its stunning Atlantic coast beaches to picturesque Castlebay, famously featured on Whisky Galore. The landscape of this compact haven of an island is made up picturesque machair, stunning croftland and a beautiful hilly scenery, which is only 8 miles long by 4 to 5 miles wide. Barra is fringed by a number of smaller islands, including Vatersay, and the uninhabited islands of Mingulay, Parbay and Sandray.
Barra is a treasure of an island steeped in history, and swathed in nature’s beauty. Surreal does not cover it.