(The Gaelic name meaning… The Big Beach)
An TRÀIGH MHÒR
What is an airport doing on a whale watching trail I hear you ask? Well this airport is pretty special as your flight lands on the vast expanse of beach called An Tràigh Mhòr. This literally translates as ‘big beach’ which is a perfect descriptor. Washed by the tide twice a day, it is reputed to be the only beach runway in the world to handle scheduled airline services. This beach paradise is a perfect place take in the stunning seascapes around Barra.
Take a walk across the dunes behind the airport and you will find yourself on another stunning beach, perfect for gazing out to sea from. Look out from here for seals in the surf, the dark backs of harbour porpoises as they dash through the water, or for the playful antics of the resident bottlenose dolphins. Breathe in the fresh sea and look out past the breaking waves, you lose all sense of time here, caught up in the beauty of Barra.
A bit about the site
The airport cafe is well worth a visit too, with a great selection of drinks and snacks, and stunning views across the beach. The Isle of Barra is famous for its beauty; boasting stunning beaches, gorgeous coastline and even an imposing castle sitting in the middle of the bay of the main town.
Wondrous creatures in the waters
Look out for
Otters Gannets Fulmars
The Barra Boys
There is a very special community that call Barra their home - a group of bottlenose dolphins that are regularly spotted close to the shores of this beautiful island. We fondly referred to this group as the Barra Boys until they had babies! Research revealed this group of around 15 dolphins live here all year round, raising young in this picturesque setting. Using unique markings and the shapes of the dorsal fins, scientists at the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust are able identify individuals from photographs and track their movements.
A great way to spot marine wildlife is from the air. Aerial surveys give a completely different perspective of the marine environment. Scientist’s regularly use aeroplanes to photograph and count numbers of whales and dolphins. Did you know you can report your own sightings from the air if you are flying in and out of Barra airport to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust? Reporting is quick and easy using Whale Track. Scientists in Scotland are also using aerial photography to count and monitor the numbers of seals living along our coastline and volunteers are even starting to map litter on remote beaches from the sky, check out the SCRAPbook project.