Bagh a' Chaisteil
Bàgh a' Chaisteil
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Comhairle nan Eilean Siar|
Bàgh a' Chaisteil or Castlebay takes its name from the dramatically sited Kisimul Castle which sits in the middle of the bay in front of the village. Castlebay is by far and away the largest settlement on the island, but then Barra is a very small island. It is home to the main shops, High School and medical facilities, all clustered along the narrow coastal strip, under the shadow of Heaval, the hill that dominates the island.
The only classified road on Barra is the A888, which makes a complete circuit of the island. However, it fails to serve either ferry pier or even the famous beach airport! The mainland ferry to Barra arrives at the pier in Castle Bay, having crossed from Oban. It is one of the longest crossings for any island, other than Shetland at 5-6 hours, and in the past crossing times have passed well into double figures with winter storms. In the summer months, the service operates via the islands of Coll and Tiree one day a week, allowing daytrippers to those islands, with some tourists chosing a day long cruise instead. During the winter, the ferry is sometimes combined with the Lochboisdale Ferry to South Uist, although this is less frequent now that that service has been partly moved to Mallaig. However, again in poor weather, the combined crossing can be the only solution in a short weather window.
At the western edge of Castlebay, and unclassified road winds along the coast to the Vatersay Causeway, crossing to the closest of the chain of islands that stretches south from Barra. This is the only one of the islands with a permanent community, as opposed to residents from single families. Barra is also connected to South Uist by the Sound of Barra Ferry, which sails from the north end of the Island to Eriskay, and so South Uist.
|Bagh a Tuath / Borgh||was B889|
|Bagh a Tuath / Breibhig||was B889|
|Vatersay||via the Vatersay Causeway|
|Oban and the A85|