More from Barra

I completed my circuit of the island by exploring and walking around several of the attractive villages, headlands and bays on the east coast, then visiting Castlebay, best described as its capital village. Nowhere is very far apart here - driving sedately to enjoy the views and avoid stray sheep would still allow a complete circuit within 40' or so, and it would only take 15' in one go from Heathbank down to where I pulled up in the centre of the village. 

Click to open the images in a Lightbox.

Kisimul Castle from the outskirts of Castlebay, with Vatersay in the distance

Castlebay's seething metropolis contains the island's sole petrol station, bank, minimarket, police station and post office and the largest church, plus a couple of cafes. I enjoyed an americano at Cafe Kisimul, which surprisingly successfully blends Indian and Italian styles, and is immediately adjacent to the more traditional Macroon's.

The eponymous castle of Kisimul can be visited via a little ferry, but I didn't have time to do that: my photo above was actually taken on the following morning on my trip to fill the car with petrol before driving to the ferry - early light gives much better illumination of the old walls from this direction.

I continued west and then south out of Castlebay, crossing the causeway to the once-separate island of Vatersay, famed for its beaches and hiking, and for a sad episode in WW2, when a Catalina flying boat lost its bearings in a night flying exercise and crashed in to a hillside.

The engines, armaments and navigational equipment were removed, but much of the wreck remains on the hillside next to a memorial.

I walked here and at Tangasdal beach back on the west coast of Barra, but the sun was high and I found little of photographic interest. Tangasdal would be a lot more photogenic if some kind person bulldozed the Isle of Barra Beach Hotel which is perched on the cliff above its northern edge...

I returned to the Heathbank for some research on good places to catch what was clearly going to be good evening light, and then enjoyed an early supper. The Photographer's Ephemeris app confirmed that there should be low rays illuminating first the Cille Bharra cemetery and chapels, and later the rocks at the southern edge of Traigh Mhor, the airport beach, so I loaded the car boot and headed a few miles north.

Cille Bharra chapel is set in a lovely position facing east and is dedicated to the saint whose name was given by the Norse to the island. I found subsequently that the graveyard contains the memorial of Compton MacKenzie of "Whiskey Galore" fame.

By now the sun was getting low, so I drove back past the airport, pulled off the road just west of a small settlement marked as "Crannag" on the OS map and headed on to the shell-laden beach. The light was indeed lovely, and I stayed until the last rays lifted from the rocks and the sun dipped behind the dunes of Traigh Eais - the uncannily good dual image stabilisation of the new Olympus body and 12-100 lens meant thuat a tripod was unnecessary.

Some of these images have had a variety of post-processing treatments in Color eFex Pro.

The next morning I drove to and from Castlebay to fill my tank, then left the car at the Aird Mhor jetty carpark and caught the ferry to Eriskay to complete my Paul Strand project on South Uist and Benbecula.

Anglesey with friends

Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides