Tuesday Travels. . . .The island of Barra

On arrival in Barra after our ferry trip the weather was what you would call overcast but it added to the atmosphere of the island and didn’t prevent us from heading off on our trip around the island.Above Castlebay on an isolated hilltop stands this memorial to those from the island who lost their lives in the wars.

We also wanted to check the ferry terminal at Ardmor for our departure later in the day and it was at the ferry terminal we spotted this lovely sculpture of otters.  We didn’t spot any live otters although there were many signs telling us to look out for them.We wanted to see if it was possible to view a take off or landing on Barra sands so we set off for Barra airport and by this time the weather had cleared up.

Barra Airport is a short-runway airport situated in the wide shallow bay of Traigh Mhòr at the northern tip of the island. The airport is unique, being the only one in the world where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway

The sands seem to stretch for a long way and was edged with what they call machair. 

We were lucky enough to watch this plane come in to land on the sands.

Our next stop was back towards Castlebay and a visit to Barra Gin. A purchase was made.

We headed back to Craigard Hotel for a late lunch and enjoyed a less dreich view from the restaurant. The Ardmor ferry terminal was our next stop before heading off to Eriskay.

There is a wonderful website called The Chaotic Scot and she has written a fantastic post about the island of Barra.  It is well worth a look if you are interested.

A Long Way Home. . . . it has taken me a while to get around to reading it. I’m glad I did eventually.

Wow! What a story. My sister had recommended this book to me quite some time ago but I hadn’t got around to reading it. I am so glad I have now read it.  This story had particular impact with me as our son is adopted, not from India but from the Philippines.

“A moving and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds, celebrating the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit – hope.

When Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost home town half a world away, he made global headlines.

Saroo had become lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite being happy in his new family, Saroo always wondered about his origins. He spent hours staring at the map of India on his bedroom wall. When he was a young man the advent of Google Earth led him to pore over satellite images of the country for landmarks he recognised. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for.

Then he set off on a journey to find his mother.”

What an amazing story this is.  I kept looking at similarities in the adoption process when we adopted our son but fortunately for him he had not had to survive living on the streets at age five as our son was adopted when he was eleven months old.

If you haven’t read this book I suggest you do so.  The book has since been made into a movie called “Lion”.

An update on Metung

Unfortunately the boardwalk didn’t get finished in time for the tourist season but some of it was completed and now the boardwalk reaches almost to Edgewater Terraces.

This part is now completed and is in use.Since I took the last two photos the barriers on the edge of the boardwalk have been installed and this part of the boardwalk is now in full use.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before the remaining part of the boardwalk is finished.

The other work that has been happening in the village is the reopening of the bakery,

This is before it was due to open.  The bakery is flourishing now with the tourist season in full swing.

Unfortunately there has been no further work on the burnt out building.  I guess nothing more will happen until the holiday period is over.  Meanwhile the other businesses in Metung are doing great trade during this time.

Violets!

I am feeling very pleased with myself as I have managed to grow successfully an African Violet plant. I have been feeding the plant regularly and I was worried as it had so many leaves and nothing else was happening so I stopped feeding it and only watered it.  Tah dah!  Well look at it now.  I hope it continues to behave like this next year.

My first book for 2019

This is one that I had borrowed from the library before Christmas but hadn’t got around to reading it until last week.  It was a quick read as the story got me hooked in right at the start.

The story is about two women separated by a generation, one living in Manhattan and the other in Australia.

1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.

2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette attends the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her grandmother’s work – one of the world’s leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of heartbreak and secrets – and the sacrifices made for love.

You can read a preview of the book here and you may decide then to borrow the book from your library.

Tuesday Travels.. . . . .Oban to Castlebay

In order to get to the Outer Hebrides we had to catch a ferry from Oban.  We had booked a Bed and Breakfast not far out of Oban and spent the night there before catching the ferry the next day.  We had time to look around Oban as the ferry didn’t leave until later in the day.

This was the view from our B&B unfortunately the standard of the B&B wasn’t great but it was a bed.  We walked from the B&B to a local restaurant for a meal but it was booked out so we walked a little further and came across this wonderful place.

The Falls of Lora Hotel.  We were able to procure a table for dinner and enjoyed a delicious meal, part of which was this fantastic cheeseboard with the most delicious oatcakes.

The following morning we had a bit of a wander around Oban.  We had been there previously but we hadn’t taken the time to visit the folly, McCaig’s Tower.

There is a great view of Oban from the folly.

Back down in the town we had time to visit the distillery and we also were fortunate to see a display of Highland dancing and pipe music.

The visit to the Oban distillery was interesting and we bought a bottle of their whisky after doing some tastings.

Our ferry crossing was from Oban to Catlebay on the island of Barra.

This was the first time we had seen the front of a ferry open up to take the cars, we were used to seeing a ramp lowered to let cars board.

The weather was not the best when we were on board but we were excited to finally be on our way to the Outer Hebrides.

It was still dreich when we arrived at Castlebay but our welcome at the Craigard Hotel was great and we felt comfortably at home.