Route: Eoligarry

Area: Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides

Date of walk: 6th September 2022

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.9 miles

Ascent: 400 feet

Weather: Mixed sunshine and clouds

The Eoligarry peninsula is the most northerly part of Barra. It is almost entirely surrounded by beaches, one of which provides the runway for Barra airport. Today’s walk could convenienly be started from the airport, especially for anyone arriving here by bus. We chose to start from Eoligarry jetty on the east of the peninsula

The initial section of the walk was along the road, not an issue as the roads hereabouts are very quiet. We passed by Cille Bharra or St Barr’s Church where Compton MacKenzie, author of Whisky Galore, is buried. We left the road at a sign indicating the Eoligarry Trail and made the short climb up to Dun Sgurabhal, the crumbling remains of an iron age fort. There were wonderful views from here, both across to South Uist and Eriskay and over the beaches of the Eoligarry peninsula

We descended from the fort and crossed some rough pathless terrain before climbing up to Beinn Eolaigearry, the highest summit on the peninsula though only 350 feet. Occasional marker posts assisted navigation here, though they are widely spaced and hard to spot at times. Our arrival at the top of the hill coincided with a good view of a plane landing on the beach of Tràigh Mhor – this the only airport in the world on which scheduled flights take off and land on a beach

We made a pathless descent to the white sands of Tràigh Eais and walked along the beach, leaving it just before the end to climb up through the dunes to reach the airport terminal. There is a cafe here in season, but sadly we were out of season. We followed the road from the terminal for a short distance and then turned off to walk along the vast beach, keeping to its inner edge. The melodious calls of curlews accompanied us along the way. On reaching Orasaigh the beach turns a corner and merges into Tràigh Cille-Bharra. On reaching Sanderling we climbed up to the road and from here it was a short stroll back to the start

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