Beguiling Barra

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First full day on Barra in the Outer Hebrides after a great night's sleep in the Romahome at Croft a1sx2_Thumbnail2_photo-91.JPGNumber Two, which is next door to the most northerly house on the island. We started the day with a short stroll on the beach, feeling cold in the chilly breeze. Back to the van for breakfast, looking out through the back door onto the beach, sea and mountains.


Time for a proper walk, heading along the beach for the white sand dunes gleaming in the distance. I walked and walked. Jinty ran and ran. We walked along the dunes and beyond, ending up at a jetty projecting into the turquoise sea. We then headed inland towards the cemetery in the spread out village. All Barra houses are detached and set in a good plot of land, presumably because they're crofts. Walking up through the village I could hear corncrakes croaking and creaking away amongst the long grass and wild flowers, but didn't see one, even though my eyes were well and truly peeled.


The cemetery also contains the remains of an ancient chapel, which is a1sx2_Thumbnail1_photo-94.JPGclearly still used by people remembering family members who have died.  Seeing the unusual headstones and images in the chapel reminded me that Barra is predominantly a Roman Catholic island. We walked back along the beach and were ready for a rest.


Never one for prolonged rests I decided to see if I could unfold my brand new folding bike which has been perched on the passenger seat throughout the trip. Not being blessed with any technical skills I've been worried that if I get it unfolded I might not be able to fit it back in the Romahome. Using the step by step pictorial guide I manage to get it looking like a bike without any floppy bits so decide to go for a spin, leaving Jinty to continue his snoozing in the van (if there's anything that whippets are better at than running, it's snoozing).


b2ap3_thumbnail_photo-93.JPGI soon got the hang of the bike, despite the fact that the small wheels seemed to wobble more than big ones, and  that it's several years since I last rode a bike of any description. Thankfully there's not much traffic on the roads and I was soon hurtling along (on the downhill sections anyway) enjoying the combination of the wind in my hair (through the ventilation holes in my very becoming bike helmet), being able to see more because of added height, and still being able to take in the sounds and smells which you miss when driving.


I'd driven in the Romahome past the tiny airport on the way to the campsite, but hadn't spotted that the runway is on the beach. Signs instruct people not to go on the beach when the windsock's up. I don't think there's a very frequent service....the airport was closed when I went past.


I really was in need of a rest by the time I got back to the campsite and it was warm enough to sit outside the van, enjoy the view and listen to the skylarks as they soared higher and higher overhead. before settling down for another peaceful night's sleep in the van.