An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

Cycle the complete island circuit on the quiet single-track road to take in Barra’s full beauty. Hike to the island highpoint, Heaval (Heabhal) at 384 m, passing the large white statue of Madonna and Child on the way to enjoy spectacular views of Castlebay below. For the energetic take part in the Barrathon, the round-island half-marathon with its celebratory ceilidh afterwards. There’s seakayking galore to exlore the coastline and marine wildlife of the island. Take a boat to Kisimul Castle and climb to the top of the tower or dine Barra-style in my favourite Indian/Italian restaurant, Cafe Kisimul. Their scallop pakoras are to die for. If beaches are your thing, those of the west coast are wild and rugged with Baigh Halaman a personal favourite. Barra is nirvana for plane-spotters too. Head for Traigh Mhor/Cockle Strand in the north to watch planes land on the beach then grab a coffee and sarnies in the miniature Barra Airport cafe.

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