35.6 miles

We woke to beautiful sunny morning. The breakfast room looked out twards Kisimul Castle in the bay. We got set up, planning to spend the day exploring Barra and Vatersay – we took the Trangia and the bits’n’bobs for a drum up and lunch. Fortunately we also packed some extra clothing, as the temperature dropped steadily through the morning, as the cloud grew ominously (consistent with the last weather forecast we’d seen which was for light rain). We’d hoped to have a brewup on the beach at Vatersay, but contented ourselves with a stroll – something repeated during the other beach visits today!

The beaches on Barra and Vatersay are nothing short of splendid, as are the dunes behind, with displays of primroses and many other flowers, though the yellow flag irises had yet to bloom.

From Vatersay we retraced our path back to the B&B, then on to the main circular road round Barra. This proved delightful, if still quite cold and windy – the clouds seemed to be breaking up. We stopped occasionally to admire views and beaches, but still felt too cold for lunch. At the north of this loop, weturned north, investigating where the Ardmhor ferry terminal was, then on to the Barra airport – the landing strip is thehuge Cockle Strand beach – where we stopped for soup and tea. This was most welcome as we were pretty cold by then.

Further north to Eoligarry, where we walked onto arocky beach with terrific rock pools. From there we retraced to the circular road and headed back to Castlebay, pausing occasionally to admire the views. The Cuillins in Skye were clearly visible.

Back in Castlebay, we changed, had a cup of tea, then wanered into Castlebay. We photographed Kisimul Castle from a number of vantage points (apparently Castelbay was the model for Kiltoch and Kisimul for the Black Island in Tintin and the Black Island). A fabulous pint of McEwans 80/- in the Castlebay Hotel bar was followed by dinner at the Cafe Kisimul, which specialises in Indian, Italian and seafood. I had scallop pakora and spaghetti marinara (combining all the specialities, I thought) washed down with a bottle ofHebridean Breweries’ Islander ale. Carol had the same starter and followed with Jaipuri prawns.

Then back to the B&B.

We saw loads of birds, including many we couldn’t identify – skylarks, herons, hooded crows. Many starlings. Heard a cuckoo.

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