A couple of weeks ago my other half did his Day Skipper course with a company based on Barra. I went out to join him for weekend and can highly recommend it. Barra and Vatersay are lovely, all white sand and blue sea.
I was meant to fly over on the saturday morning, but the conference I was meant to be at on the Friday was cancelled so instead I had a lovely train ride from Glasgow to Oban, then a sunshiney ferry trip up the Sound of Mull and across the Sea of the Hebrides. It was nearly a disaster as I discovered there's no O2 reception on Barra. Luckily he happened to walking past the ferry terminal as I arrived, so I properly surprised him.
We camped on the beach at Castlebay, as all the B&Bs were full, but you can camp almost anywhere as long as you ask - there's no official site and there are toilets in the Community Hall.
On Friday night we had tea at Kisimul Cafe (presumably named for the castle in the bay), which is a cafe by day and an Indian/Italian/sea food restaurant by night. I recommend the scallop pakoras.
On saturday we walked over the hills in the middle, past the Madonna on Sheabhal (Heaval) to the north of the island, then out to the Otter Cafe which doubles as the waiting room for the Eriskay ferry at Aird Mhor. About 6-7km in all. Had a nice toastie and cup of tea then caught the little bus back to Castlebay, changed to the other little bus and went down to the Vatersay Community Hall. This is on a narrow stretch of the island with big white beaches either side.
We walked around Vatersay on the marked trail, which takes you round the south part of the island in about 4km. The views to the outlying island are quite spectacular.
Two wrecks are commemorated on Vatersay, the Annie Jane (saling from Liverpool to Montreal) and the Catalina (flying out of RAF Oban).
Having hitched back to Castlebay, we went for a beer then dinner at the Castlebay Hotel. The food is much more traditional but just as delicious as the cafe.
Sunday was spent travelling home, as the ferry was at 9.20. This is where Barra is different to other Hebridean islands - it used to be the 'Catholic' one. Therefore there are sunday ferries and the Co-op in Castlebay is open in the afternoon.