Monday 4 September 2017

Hebrides 2017 - beaches for swimming - Barra*

*caveat - I am neither an athletic nor a brave swimmer so these spots represent only my personal preference and are undoubtedly too tame for the seasoned wild swimmer.

Vatersay's twin bays offer just about everything I yearn for in a beach. The calm turquoise waters of the east-facing Bagh Bhatersaigh with shoals of tiny fish and its wilder partner, Bagh Sair facing out into the open Atlantic. A sublime swathe of machair separates the bays. In early August the dunes were studded with tiny white eyebright, pale blue harebells, red clover, magenta self heal, bright yellow trefoils, vetches and ragworth and the hairy brown buds of knapweed.

Bagh Bhatersaigh, Vatersay, Outer Hebrides
Bagh Halaman
We remembered the beach at Bagh Halaman from our previous visit to Barra and headed straight there the evening we arrived. I nearly cried for not bringing my swim gear. We headed back there early the next morning, left our bikes at the telephone box, traipsed over the machair and swam in the just-deep-enough pool by the skerries. It was cold but bearable.
Bagh Halaman, Barra

Bagh Halaman, Barra

Traigh Tuath
Where the brackish water of the Abhuinn Mhor bleeds into the azure Atlantic. The water is deliciously cold and then icy in turn and under the water the sea wriggles and squirms where the two meet and mix.
Traigh Tuath, Barra
small watercolour - Traigh Tuath, Barra

Coming soon - swimming on (or should that be off?) North and South Uist.


  1. This looks fantastic. The colours and landscape. I bet it is equally beautiful in wet or stormy weather (although I am a fair weather person myself). How wonderful to see the different water temperatures in action. Seeing these deserted beaches, lacking in plastic tat and kiosks makes me wonder whether such places should be kept a secret.

    1. It is beautiful Bella, and I know what you mean but fortunately my blog has so few readers that I think the secret is safe ;-)



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