Travel Tips – Barraigh

Gate No 1, Barra Airport

Well then, what about my travel tips for Barra.

On my way to Glasgow Airport I stayed a night at the Novotel in Glasgow. The alternative would have been a very early start from to get to the airport through the Glasgow rush hour traffic. It was excellent, as I’ve often found that chain to be. The cost was just £60 for the night (no breakfast).

Novotel

I left my car at the NCP long term facility at Glasgow Airport. 8am on Friday to 3 pm on Sunday came in at £31. It is only 5 minutes by bus from the terminal, which is good. I waited over 15 minutes to be picked up, which is not good enough. The operator I used in Aberdeen last month was much better.

My flights were with Loganair from/to Glasgow (there is no alternative – except the ferry). They cost £154 return booked 3 months in advance. Loganair runs two flights per day in the summer except on Sunday when it is a single flight. With only 18 seats on each flight, as you can imagine, they sell out quickly.

On Approach

That ticket (their FullFlexPlus) includes fast track security and lounge access, as well as a 15kg checked in bag. To be fair Barra Airport has neither a lounge nor security, but the Glasgow lounge offered me as much breakfast as I could eat and plenty comfort to enjoy it in.

Glasgow Airport Lounge

I stayed my 2 nights at the Castlebay Hotel in … Castlebay. It was £149 per night (including breakfast) for a sea view double. I was on my own, but single rooms in places like that are often just cupboards.

I won’t dwell on why, but it is incredibly overpriced and mediocre at best. The sea view was great, however. The staff are friendly and doing their best, but need some management.

Expensive View

I ate a lunch and a dinner in the hotel. They were also mediocre and overpriced.

I used the service bus from the airport to the hotel when I arrived. £1.90 single for the 20 minute journey. It was ideal. The timetable is complex. It is best to ask someone local. The bus service doesn’t run on Sunday, so I took a taxi back to the airport for my flight home. £15.

I had tried to rent a car but the supply is limited and I was too late. I rented a bike instead – £26 for a day and a half from Barra Bike Hire. It was an excellent way to get around, but make sure you have the right wet weather gear (just in case).

Barra Bike (on Eriskay)

The Calmac ferry from Ardmhòr to Eriskay cost me £6.10 return – no charge for the bike.

Ardmhòr Ferry Terminal

I found several good places for coffee (and cake, usually). The community cafe on Vatersay was one, and the Hebridean Toffee Company (in Castlebay) was another. The Airport Cafe is very popular, and I also had a coffee at Macroon’s Cafe – part of the Post Office in Castlebay.

Castle Transport

I visited Kisimul Castle at Castlebay. It sits majestically in the middle of the harbour, and is the clan seat of Clan MacNeil. The entrance fee was £3.60 at my concession rate, and the fee includes the short boat trip there and back.

ⓒ iain Taylor, 2018 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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