“Someone stopped the world and we got off for two lovely weeks.  This place should be available on the NHS – it would save them millions!” Mark, Louise, Harry, Freya, Archie and Bettie the dog!  Teignmouth.

See our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hebridean-Cottage-Holidays/438959736169394 

 

When I am weary of the traffic din

The milling crowds, the endless quest for gain,

Or when I think that spring will never come

I remember islands where the skylarks sing.

 

I see the cliffs where nesting seabirds cling,

The caves that echo oceans ancient rune

And sandy beaches where the grey seals

Sing their strange, sad songs beneath a silver moon

 

The lonely croft with fleeting sunbeams kissed

The lichen covered rocks, the windbent tree,

And mountain tops cut off by morning mist

Rising in ghostly beauty from the sea.

 

Time, and this busy world may pass me by

When I remember visions such as these

And hear again the oystercatchers cry

Along the fringes of the Hebrides.

 

Ruth Thompson, Isle of Arran.   Harbour Cottage 2009. 

 

Here is a selection of the comments made by our guests over the years: 

 

Harbour Cottage

2013

“We love it at the house.  So far we have been crabbing 3 times and we have caught 52 crab’s all together and we have been fishing 1 time and we caught a crab when we were fishing.

I think Olga likes it hear.  We did not catch enything when we were fishing it’s a shame but we did catch a crab.

And of couse we put all the crab’s back in to the river. When we went to the beach we  found a rugby ball.”.

Samuel Nikitik.

 

“A wonderful location to bring in the New Year.  We both have had a fab time spending our time walking the beaches -  Borve, Eoligarry and so on.  Had a brilliant night at the Vatersay Hall on 1st Jan. featuring the Vatersay Boys!  Also nice to meet up with so many nice and welcoming people.  Back again sometime soon!”

Iain English and Louise Davidson, Glasgow.

 

“Wonderful time.  Amazing birdlife and flowers.  Can’t wait to get internet access so I can rebook for next year.

Diolch yn fawr!

Dee, Michael, and Lucy the dog – also Brynley and Brian, Abergavenny.

 

“We have enjoyed Mediterranean sun, scuba diving on amazing wrecks.  The houses are great!  The sun room has been very sunny and the location is perfect for water lovers like us.  Big feasts every night, friendly fishermen.  Many thanks for the hospitality Tom!!

Duncan, Ulrika (Swedish), Aisling (Irish), Ewan, Tom, Vanessa (Aus), Dan, Clare, Steve, Sidonia (Swiss), Alma, Angus and Rhona!!

 

“Another lovely stay.  Towards the end of the week it was beautiful, however the start was very misty.  Cottage lovely as usual!  A great place to stay, it lovely to explore the land around it!  Thank youYBarra”

The Godwins.  Simon, Claire, Emily, Olivia.

 

“We have had a great time here and we really enjoyed going to all the beaches and pubs.  We didn’t like Heaval as much as the pubs!  The crabbig was very fun, we caught 72 altogether.  We went for a swin in the sea and really enjoyed it!  We ate scalups  it was delicious!  It too us 6 days to get up here but we still enjoyed it!!  It’s our first time her and it was absolutely fabulous…!  Thanks to Tom and Mary our cousins!”

The Nikitiks.  Fiona, Chris, Josh, Izzy and Sam.

 

“Beautiful Barra, beautiful Vatersay.  Golden beaches and aquamarine seas.  We havev loved every minute of our stay in Harbour Cottage.”

Deirdre and Michael and Leon and Shay and Auntie Hilda.

 

“Absolutely fed up to be leaving tomorrow!  Why holiday anywhere else than Barra and harbour Cottage?  It’s been a fantastic week – Barra keeps getting better and better – This is my second visit to Harbour Cottage and we cannot wait to come back again.  Thank you very much, Tom, Harbour Cottage is excellent.”

Sarah Jacobs and Tess, Jonathan Jacobs and Sorbet.     

 

“We came here to complete the restoration of the stained glass windows in Castlebay Church and Harbour Cottage is the most authentic island experience we have enjoyed so far.  In between work we have cycled and swum around various beaches on the island and sampled as much of the island produce as we could.  Langoustines and sole from Barratlantic; cockles from Cockleshell Beach [Traigh Mhor]; lamb from the farm shop next to the coop and eggs, bread and veg from the same shop - all delicious! We love the unpretentious atmosphere in the cottage and the seals in the bay.”

Christian Shaw and Roderick Sutherland, Edinburgh.

 

“December, on the edge of a galing depression which doesn’t seem to move!  Maybe it feels comfortable over Scotland, just as I, in Harbour Cottage, reading and working, watching a curlew, listening to the wind, and popping out for short hikes along the sea.  I know some wouldn’t understand, but it’s pure gold for me!”

Hubert Aupetit, Paris.     

 

 “Great cottage with a superb location.  Warm and cosy and comfortable…Sad to be leaving but feeling restored and refreshed by this lovely island!”

Ian Smith and Eleanor Halsall, London.

 

“Third time to Barra and the excellent harbour Cottage – had some very warm weather and bright days mixed with one or two more wintry – really enjoyed revisiting/walking the beaches at ythe north of Barra ane exploring Vatersay too.”

Jonathan Jacobs and Sorbet.

 

“Another fantastic week here at harbour Cottage – Nowhere else on earth like it – we have been so many times, and yet still always blown away by how beautiful the island is and how alive it feels to be here.”

Suzanne, Steve, Simeon and Joseph Gurr. 

 

2012.   

 

We had a family holiday here – enjoying sunshine, exploring the islands on water and land.  Thanks for the spacious, clean and friendly cottage with a good selection of books!

Rhona, Steve + Sidonia from Oban.

 

This has been our 6th visit to the cottage, but the first time as a family all together as Joseph (10) has always said that he never wanted to come to Barra, but now we can’t drag him away!  We’ve usually come in October/November, so aren’t used to long sunny days and walking without falling into bogs!  We’ve missed lighting the fire, though!  The cottage has been perfect as ever – thank you!

Steve, Suzanne, Simeon and Joseph Gurr.  Angmering, W. Sussex.

 

This is the 4th time I have come here, but this time we came in the summer .  The weather was scorching and so everything was different.  We saw seals and puffins on the boat over to Mingulay.  We saw otters at the beach opposite the airport and saw sea eagles.

Simeon 13 years.

 

Wonderful cottage and island, sun room so nice!  Weather amazing.  Recommend all the walks in the leaflets.

Walter and Josine de Buch.  

 

Had a great week in Harbour Cottage, excellent weather for exploring.  Visit to Seal Bay was a must, and we climbed Heaval, the long way setting out just over the road from the cottage.  Evening sitting around the fire with Moby Dick, priceless.

Tom, Amy, Emily and Steve (Dad).  Halsowen, Nr Birmingham.

 

Have had an amazing few days in the cottage and on Barra.  Beautiful weather the whole time – perfect for exploring a great island!  Best bits – climbing Sheabhal from just across the road, watching a plane land on the traigh mhòr, sunset on the west side, curry in Cafe Kisimul and drinks in the Craigard!  Tillidh sinn a rithist agus a rithist!

Màiri Alice & Graham, Isle of Lewis.

 

What a break!  Three weeks in Harbour Cottage, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, watching, cooking (lobsters from the man in the boat!).  I think there is not a single square inch of this island that hasn’t been trod by Hubert’s soles!  All the hills, moors, stones, beaches, and I’m so ashamed to say that I just had one afternoon and one rainy night to my friends in the south.  It’s a pity in a way, for I haven’t been able to read through the “Celtic” bookshelf in the sun room...Thanks a million, as they say on the other end of the Giant’s Causeway.

Huber Aupetit, Port-en-Bessin, France.

 

We’ve had a great week walking on the stunning beaches and also the hills... Hope everyone enjoys their holiday in Harbour Cottage as much as we have.

Liz and John Russell, Edinburgh.

 

Two wonderful weeks.  Harbour Cottage was a delight – thanks.  Lots of walking, climbed Heaval for our first time and highly recommend the trip on the Boy James to Mingulay – truly spectacular.  Kisimul Cafe still Number 1 or dinner; but don’t forget to visit the fish factory.

Sarah and Sandy Morrison, Paignton, Devon  John and Carolyn Morrison, Worcester  John and Lyn Holt, Doncaster.

 

A lovely week at harbour Cottage – lucky with the weather too.  Vatersay beach stunning – perfect day + photos.  Relaxing place.  Friendly island.  Caught the Chippy Van, had a curry, boat to Kisimul Castle.  Sightseeing flight to Benbecula.  Thanks!

Eilen, Corran (3) + Harris (1) + Nana.

 

Enjoyed our time at Harbour Cottage.  We were lucky with the weather except for one day.  Barra’s beaches are beautiful and especially the ones with the little bays for swimming in.  We had delicious herring and haddock from Barratlantic – well worth going to the shop.  The curries were tasty in Castlebay too.  Hope to return someday.

Kate & Doug.

 

Wonderful time.  Amazing bird life and flowers.  Can’t wait to get internet access so I can rebook for next year.  Diolch yn Fawr! 

Dee, Michael and Lucy the Dog, also Brynley and Brian (Abergavenny).

 

Wonderful time, weather was lovely!  Caught some fish and crabs locally.  Vatersay beach is a must, beautiful surroundings.  Kisimul Castle was a great experience!  Went on Sea Kayak adventure which was a nice adventure, done at a leisurely pace, seeing the seals was a lovely experience and up close view in their environment! 

Colin Wellstead, Charlotte Dalton, Ryan Wellstead, Stuart Wellstead, Bill Wellstead, Kieran Williams.  Warrington and Cwmgwrach, Wales.    

 

Yet another lovel stay here on Barra. It was such fun, and we all loved every minute!  Lots of The Deck and the Heathbank Hotel  and Kisimul Cafe with (mostly) lovely weather and beautiful beaches; I cannot wait to come again! 

Emily Godwin  : D

 

It is our 4th time at Harbour Cottage and it just keeps getting better!  I would suggest the fish factory, Kisimul Cafe and the Heathbank Hotel as places to eat out.  Some beautiful beaches on Vatersay.  The seals just as curious as normal at Seal Bay.  And if you want a morning stroll there is one right outside your doorstep , wander out to the islands and explore.

The Godwins – Emily, Olivia, Claire and Simon.

 

2011

 

Love this place (cottage and island).  Have been coming with family and friends for around 40 years!  Don’t intend to stop.  Here this time with Auchen the wee Westie.  We’ve both had a ball in sun, wind and rain.  Can’t wait for next trip!

Olga Nikitik, East Lothian.  

 

Another great week on the island – have stomped our way round nearly all of it, in mainly wind + rain, but some sun too!  Cottage was perfect as ever.  Thank you.

Steve Gurr, Angmering, W. Sussex.

 

It’s been brilliant here again.  Weather has been perfect.  Wind, rain and extremely breif moments of sun.  I enjoyed that after the walks me and dad put on the fire.  There was a seal which returned every day so I named him ‘David McSeal’.  Can’t wait until were back again! :)

Simeon (12).

 

Came to Harbour Cottage for a New Year break with friends.  We swam in 2011&2012...Well some of us!  We enjoyed fondue to see the NY in and some blustering walks on the beautiful beaches.  A long and very competitive game of “the 5 Pillars of Catan” [?] was played.  Really enjoyed the cottage and the friendly people on the island...  Had a bite to eat at the airport whilst watching planes take off.  It has been nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a while...Barra is beautiful.  Thank you!  Great cottage – we’ll recommend it.

Leila (Edinburgh), Callum (Liverpool), Jen (Mull), Ursula (Malvern), Katie (London), Fran (Yorkshire).

 

Barra is Brillaint!  Beautiful!  Beaches!  Busting!  Bumps!  Barra is Brilliant!

Dan, age 20 ½. 

 

Had a very enjoyable time on this very lovely island.  The house was very comfortable and in a stunning location – never tired of looking out at the ever-changing weather.

Maureen and Walter Bennett.  Gt. Asby, Appleby, Cumbria.

 

 

Rained every day, Force 9 severe gale, ferries cancelled, power cut, but had a great time.  Walked, got wet, got dry, walked some more.  Saw an otter in the narrows from upstairs lounge, plus a merlin hunting over the grassland and great Northern and red-throated divers in the lagoon below the house.  Eagles on Vatersay, Arctic skuas and a corncrake in the garden....          Cheers,

Gordon and Karen Wright.

 

We have thoroughly enjoyed our first stay here on Barra.  Loved the cottage – ‘home sweet home’.  Spent most of our time in the Sunroom trying to see the famous otter! Great time riding around the island looking for sandy bays.  Not disappointed here!  Dogs loved the climbing + exploring outside – including the waterfall!  Hope weather improves for ferry back in the morning – many thanks again for a lovely week.  -          Heron, cuckoo, oyster-catcher and the lonely swan all spotted – but no otter!

-          Crabbing outside the cottage was G8 fun. As was the small waterfall within the cottage grounds.  Dogs loved this too...Weather very changeable but added to the G8 character of this lovely island and location of the cottage.  

Ben and Elaine, Tom and Murphy Colley-Wood.     

 

Regular visitor for the last 15 years, beautiful scenic location felt right at home in the cottage – will definitely be back!  Perfect holiday.

Sadie Thompson, Edinburgh.

 

 

Great location.  Very peaceful island.  A very relaxeds time was had with some great hikes across the island.

Stephen Paton, Glasgow.

 

 

Had a great time.  Loved the house, especially the coal fire and sun room.  Barra is great, much to see and do.  Recommend visiting the airport and seal bay.

Stuart Dreghorn, Glasgow.

 

 

Wonderful holiday on a beautiful island.  Weather was good so went exploring many places..my favourites were Cleat beach and seeing seals along the coast.  Saw a basking shark in Castlebay!  Perfect holiday for everyone, especially workaholic mobile phone users!   ; D

Kim Mathiessen, Glasgow.

 

 

Had a wonderful holiday here on Barra, would recommend the round trip to flight to Benbecula and the food at the Kisimul Cafe.  Weather has been good only one bad day this week.  Cottage is well equipped  and warm and clean.  Would recommend it to family and friends, location is out of this world.  5 stars *****

Jim and Margaret Tierney, East Kilbride.

 

 

Done not a lot other than gaze at the views, pottered about, enjoyed the seafood and relaxed.  Idyllic setting.  Our second visit to Harbour Cottage.  Hope to return next year if not sooner.

Helen and Neil Aitkenhead, Thornhill, Stirlingshire.

 

 

What a fantastic island with a multitude of breathtaking views.  Enjoyed every minute of our stay.  Boat trip to Mingulay spectacular – not to be missed.  Loved the peaceful setting of the cottage – every house should have a sun room to relax in and enjoy the scenery.  Barra has peace; it’s beautiful, serenity is found here.

Sue, Kathy + Chris, Shropshire.

 

 

Another fabulous holiday in Harbour Cottage.  Fantastic weather and we explored all our favourite places.

Simon, Claire, Emily and Olivia Godwin, London.

 

 

Harbour Cottage is a great retreat, comfy and spacious, a great place to meet.  Barra is special, an ever-changing place where life passes by at a leisurely place.  We’ve had a lovely time, even though the weather was mixed.  Beautiful beaches, a trip to Eriskay and South Uist and plenty of walking.  The house has been very comfortable – enjoyable.

The Rooneys, Rutherglen, Glasgow.

 

 

Had a brilliant stay on Barra, loved the beaches at the north of the island, enjoyed great weather for 95% of the week – Harbour Cottage is excellent and hope to return soon.

James Jacobs and Sorbet, Peldon.

 

 

Cannot pretend the weather was perfect but several fine days...Highlights were the Vatersay Coastal Path- a view of  the Bishop’s islands...eagles in the glen...fresh scallops, cooked in Harbour Cottage, bought at the Ardveenish fish processing factory; lobster at Castlebay Hotel; the v. touching church at Our Lady of the Waves; the view from the top of Heaval; spending time in Harbour Cottage...Greatly enjoyed getting to know the herd of cattle that crossed and uncrossed the track to the cottage every day, including a tearaway young bull from Stirlingshire ...and the permanent presence of grey seals (up to four at a time) in the harbour itself...AND it  is a great place to be away from TV for a week.

Howard and Stephanie Friend, Twickenham, Middlesex.      

 

Very nice cottage comfy sofas nice sun room. Saw heron out of it.  Saw 3 golden eagles, 2 sea eagles, seals and a otter on Vatersay.  Went kayaking and it was COOL!  BBQs and bonfires on beach.  Best of all swimming in the sea Brrrrr!  10/10. 

Thank you so much for a lovely stay. Gorgeous beaches, esp. the wild westerly ones; cows on the beach; mackerel skies; friendly islanders; amazing views from the top of any hills we could find.  Thousands of photos and thousands of memories.  Thank you.

...not to mention the amazing cottage!  What a place!  We hope to come back some day soon and collect and cook more delicious cockles.  Thanks for a truly outstanding holiday!" 

Alex, Dan and Cameron, Edinburgh.      

 

From 2010:

"A cosy cottage with beautiful views!  Blue sky, silence, birds all over...We are sure to come back on our motorcycle with sidecar!  Thanks!" 

Myra and Leon Franssen, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

 

 

"Had a really interesting and thoroughly enjoyable time.  Days with no wind!!   Sea eagles on Eriskay, fabulous birds on Mingulay (Trip with Donald MacLeod not to be missed).  Otters and tons of sea birds.  House warm + comfortable and our Swiss friend Beatrice revelled in the peace and quiet." 

Ken and Sally Lomax, Forest of Dean.

 

 

"Lovely beachs!  and views wish I could stay longer swam 4 times it was really cold." 

Tex Hagan.

 

 

"I loved the views.  just like a postcard  The crossing was calm and cosy cottage when fire is going.  Swam 2 paddled 2.  Amazing 10/10." 

Spike Hagan

 

 

"What a fabulous time we have had again!  This is our 13th visit to Barra – definitely not unlucky! – and we still find new places to see and things to do.  We consider ourselves very lucky to be able to stay in such a homely cottage and in such a beautiful setting...P.S. Ruth Thompson’s poem captures Barra perfectly!" 

Chris and John Murphy and Pogo the Lurcher, Barford, Warwick.

 

 

"Fabulous position for holiday cottage.  We had brilliant weather and saw otters and seals from sun room...Having spent 4 weeks travelling from the Butt of Lewis to Mingulay Barra really is the Jewel pf the Isles.  Buy the DVD from Toffee Shop to sustain you through the long dark months if winter and relive your memories."  Derek Rogers, Cornwall. 

Myra Musselwhite and Mary Powell, West Wales.

 

"Wildlife seen around the cottage – seal, heron, oystercatchers plus their young, redshanks and a corncrake next to South Bank Cottage opposite.  Seals on islands offshore plus their singing is so weird.  Elsewhere, over 100 ducks plus seals on beach below golf course.  Heath Bank hotel is good for food and if the Vatersay Boys are playing in Castlebay Bar – go and see them!  P.S. If you are fit enough, climb Sheabhal (383m) for 360° fantastic view of the whole island." 

Neil and Margaret, Dumfries.

 

 

"Loved Barra, wild flowers on the hillside, otter on our first day, seal every evening.  Saw over 30 different birds.  Great boat trip to Mingulay to see the puffins, even saw a basking shark.  Friendly people, wonderful cottage, great location, made me so happy!  Will be back, thanks." 

Heather Braine, Poole, Dorset.

 

 

"Great cottage and a perfect base to go out and  explore Barraand the surrounding islands – and something to look forward to returning to t the end of the day.  Sun room is the most relaxing at all times.  Otters, seals, herons, etc in view...Barra is really a hidden “jewel”, so glad we came and found such a relaxing cottage where we could instantly feel at home.  Looking forward to returning.

Scott Neil, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda.

 

 

"Great, very sturdy, especially for 5 kids.  You feel very at home and the cows are very friendly!  They seemed to like the cottage and us (I think).  They were down a few times.  We hopefully will be back to Barra." 

Jessica Chalmers, Orkney.

 

 

"Lovely cottage and island – love the ‘sun room’ and the views.  Have seen the herons seals and otters.  Really enjoyed the boat trip to Mingulay – saw basking sharks close up and puffins...Got some Pollock to gut (an education for us) and cook.  Climbed Heaval and swam in the sea today (icy at first but improved!).  Weather mixed but not much rain.  A lovely setting ...Thank you!" 

Gill, Michael, Andy and Jonny Gill, Sunderland.

 

 

"Returned again for 2 weeks this time.  Wonderful 2 weeks, weather perfect and really relaxed.  Saw lots, seals, hen harriers, basking sharks, etc, etc.  Mingulay trip a must and also flight to Benbecula and back.  Cooked up local prawns and scallops from BarraAtlantic, and Heath Bank Hotel food wonderful...where the locals go!  We’ll be back again.  P.S. Also saw golden eagle son Mingulay and heard corncrakes on Vatersay and puffins on the sea safari to Mingulay."

Hamish, Sandie, Jessy and Jamie and Bramble, Bristol.

 

 

"Back again and just as wonderful.  Discovered the Golf Course this time and enjoyed revisiting all our favourite places." 

Simon, Claire, Emily and Olivia.

 

"This place has to be good for your immortal soul – it’s wonderful!  I love it – amazingly beautiful scenery – saw golden eagles/seals/otter – locals were friendly/house charming -  thanks." 

 

Suzie Ramsden.

 

"A blessing of a place to be – thank you.  We loved the fly past of golden eagles, and bird and sea-watching from the sun room, and the excellent maps and guide books, and just being here, quietly refreshing ourselves.  Swimming off magical beaches – invigorating, but awesomely cold!  Great to have a warm cottage to come home to.  Thank you." 

Catherine Booth and Gill Parnaby.

 

"Porpoises off Eriskay, sun in the sky, t-shirts and sunburn in Castlebay, in October!  Another wonderful visit to Barra and Harbour Cottage."  

 

Ian and Tracey White, Edinburgh.

 

"Yet again a spectacular place to be – a real blessing.  We enjoyed finding new places to explore.  Weather perfect – sun, rain, wind!  Cottage perfect, and not having the TV makes you appreciate the peace more!  Aiming at coming back asap!  It was awesome: the wind, waves, rain, what more could you want?  Climbed up Heaval and did the Monty Halls walk." 

 

Steve and Simeon Gurr, Anrmering, W. Sussex.

 

"Even as  11 years ago with the millennium roll-over we had a wonderful stay at Harbour Cottage.  Warm and cosy.  Felt at home.  Did a lot of walking over the island, spectacular.  Hope to come again." 

 

Wil Joor, Hammy Alberda and Kees Brooshooft, Cornwerd, Holland.

 

 

From previous years:

 

“The peace and quiet of the island have worked their charm again.  The location at the edge of the sea and land is the best of both worlds – and there are wonderful beaches besides.”

Ruth and Allan Thompson, Isle of Arran. 2009.

 

“This is s a super island and a happy house.  We have had a wonderful holiday here.”

Elaine Mackay and Stewart McKee, Langbank.

 

“Barra is a very special place in so many ways – its people, its location, its beaches and its wonderful views.  The house is fantastic in every way.  A great holiday!  Thanks to Eoin for his help.”  

Donald and Sheila Allan, Edinburgh.

 

“Fantastic location, superb holiday 10/10!!”

The Bewells, Wetherby.

 

“Wonderful cottage.  Loved watching the birds from the sun room – saw oystercatchers and herons and gulls etc.” 

Rachel and Simon Webster, London.

 

 

“Fantastic house, fantastic location on a fantastic island.  Lots of sun and some mists.  Bird calls, lots of wildlife (flowers, birds) lots of sheep!  Kayaked to Castlebay + Eoligarry.  Biked everywhere.  Fabulous beaches.  We will be back.  Many thanks to Eoin and owners."

Alan and Mandy Gordon.  Drylawhill.

 

“Great house and many thanks to Eoin for his help.  Highlights were bedtime stories in the sun trap upstairs!”

Sillars family, London.

 

“Fantastic cottage. Spectacular location, very, very special!  Met someone at the beach today who said to their husband “They have our cottage, we saw your car and considered slashing your tyres!”  They had apparently tried to book the cottage a second time (which says it all)!  I would certainly come back – excellent.  I think this is a great location and a fantastic place.” Judith, Simon, James and Beth Whamsley. “We WILL be back!  So much done and seen in 2 weeks – but not enough time!  Even to just sit in the sun room and watch the tide, birds, seals and sheep is a great holiday.  The cottage and the islad just feel like home.”

Sara and Bob, Great Ouseburn.

 

“We have had an amazing week here – our first time in Barra, a place we will undoubtedly wish to return to.  We’ve loved the cottage – can’t imagine anywhere else we’d rather stay on the island-perfect views and seals every day!  Wonderful!”

Stephen and Suzanne Gurr, West Sussex.

 

“Wow!!  Lovely cottage and we all agree it’s got the right amount of ‘homeliness’ for a truly relaxing holiday.”

Amanda, Hayden, Jasmine Bolton, Scott Lidell, Loughborough.   

 

“GREAT to be back!  Stayed in Barra 1 week every year 1988-1998 –9 of those in Harbour Cottage – we LOVE the place!  Cottage very clean, smelt lovely on our arrival.  Appreciated all the improvements.  Sun lounge and views just as good...Harbour Cottage remains our favourite ‘home from home’”. 

John and Chris Murphy, Barford.

 

“Wonderful week – our first time on this glorious island.  Enjoyed many swims (with wetsuits!) in the harbour and nearby coves.  Loved here playing on the rocks, playing my fiddle outside, painting, reading.”

Jane, Martin, Ben (11), Joshua (9) and Eleanor (6) Harris, Dunkerton.

 

“We loved this cottage – don’t change anything!  Our highlights included kayaking in the harbour, catching mackerel from the pier and barbequing it on the beach, body-boarding, toffee muffins from ‘The Deck’ and kite flying...  We celebrated a 70th and a 3rd birthday around the kitchen table.  We Y Barra and will be back for more!” 

Simon, Thomas and Kate with guests Kevin and Jane and Rachel, Greg, Hazel and Ginny.

 

“We have saved for 2 years to come back and it’s been worth it!  Can’t think of anywhere else we would want to stay – I love it that the cottage is not too “fussy”, I love watching the sun rise over the sea and the seals come in (if you stay still enough!) I love the wile unpredictable weather – and I saw a sea otter today!  We will begin saving again, so hopefully be back in another 2 years!”

Suzanne and Stephen Gurr, West Sussex.

 

“One week is all too short!  Time has flown by.  We all enjoyed our holiday and found the house just right as a holiday home you could return to and feel at ease!”

George and Maggie (Monce??).

 

“Yet another PERFECT BARRA holiday.  Perfect weather, perfect walks, perfect place.  Cottage  was brilliant overlooking harbour – a noisy otter appeared one morning!  Idyllic with the tides coming in and out, sitting on the sun catcher bench.  Kisimul Cafe, a curry treat, as was the feast of barbequed garlic prawns.  All together a fantastic tonic after winter.”

Glenn, Karen, Nina, Jess and Grandpa Robin Hutchison from Gourock.

 

“This cottage is lovely.  It reminds me of holiday cottages I stayed in with my family 35-40 years ago.  It’s warm and bright with lots of charm.”

Helen and Neil Aitkenhead, Thornhill.

 

“Came to Barra with Dad.  It’s my first time here.  Saw loads of seals in the bay.  It’s been very wet but we’ve still had a great time.  I’ve especially enjoyed walking on the beaches, a trip on the ferry to Uist, our plane flight to Benbecula and relaxing in the cottage.  Hope I can come again.”

By Simeon (10) and daddy, Stephen Gurr.  West Sussex.          

 

 

South Bank

 

“Brilliant location, cosy cottage…Barra is beautiful, beaches fantastic.”

Christine and John Youdale, Arnside, Cumbria.

 

“Carey’s 60th birthday surprise!  From the minute I saw the tiny Twin Otter plane at Glasgow Airport, I knew the next 6 days were going to be very special.  Landing on the beach was so exciting, then the bus trip (long way round with a break for a cuppa in Castlebay) to the cottage – well, where would the key be but in the door! What a wonderful position and amazing views.  So many birds including oyster catchers, heron, greylag geese, a pair of red-breasted merganser…and these just from the cottage. Once Peter had spent a whole evening figuring out the (brilliantly clever) bus timetable, we were off!  Such fun learning about Barra from the drivers (mainly Iain) and meeting the friendly so helpful local people.  “Seal Beach” [Bay] was amazing, Vatersay (and the journey there) was so beautiful and tranquil, Eoligarry was wonderful, windy and wild.  We were lucky that it mainly rained at night – but we kept warm by the lovely coal fire.  The best coffee and cake – the village hall on Vatersay.  The best meals – scallop pakora, lamb curry and kiwi pavlova at Kisimul café.  Best free food – 2 kilos of crab claws from a kind fisherman on our beach – took 3 days to eat them all!

We loved Barra, the cottage, the people, the birds and wildlife – and hope we’ll be back soon.

The only good thing about leaving tomorrow will be the take off from the beach!

Carey and Peter Minhinnett.

 

“God to be back at South Bank Cottage which is cosier than ever….One of the most exciting events was not only hearing a corncrake but also seeing it for several seconds….Great hospitality as ever from the islanders…Thanks for a lovely holiday Tom.”

Mick and Liz Bennett, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

 

“Our first visit to beautiful Barra and it has lived up to our expectations.  A wonderful week of peace and tranquillity.”

Raymond and Beryl Woolley, Sheffield.

 

“We’ve had the most wonderful holiday on Barra with the fine sunny weather.  We’ve walked and swum and kayaked all around this beautiful island…We’ve loved our stay at South Bank Cottage – so cosy and welcoming and with everything you need, especially the coal fire!  Hope to return here soon!

Catherine Scott and Jan Maxwell, London.

 

“Our second visit within a year…Wildlife – as ever – spectacular!  Gannets at Eoligarry; corncrakes too.  Seals on trip to Eriskay.  Snowbunting (foot of Heaval)…Terns spectacular – they look too fragile for the wind.  Sheep waiting for the bus at Brevig – they were in the shelter.  We may need to be dragged kicking and screaming back to our other life!

Paul and Anne Flood, South Shields.   

 

“Another wonderful stay on Barra.  After over 40 years of coming here I’ve never had a bad one.”

Olga Nikitik, Musselburgh.

 

“My third visit to the “wee” house, John’s first – an unwilling visitor as his heart is Cornwall for its family memories and associations….but I think Barra may have worked its magic.”

Jayne Lewis and John Hoare.

 

2012

 

I fall a little more in love with Barra - so have already booked for next Easter and thinking of coming again before then...I saw guillemot, 2 gannet, two elder duck as well (plus 20 seals all lovely silvers)...The lambs have been a joy.  Easter was earlier so there were fewer.  Gorse beautiful + dwarf willow just flowering, no primroses, did see little celandines and violets...This is the best of the islands...so stay here.  No tat shops, just true life.  Fabulous, long may it be unspoilt.  Going home Friday blub blub!

Jayne.

 

Weather cold for the time of year but dry – so good!  Cottage warms up  well once the heaters are on.  We liked the style/structure of South Bank Cottage and its location.  Our first visit to Barra after having been to many other Scottish islands.  We would rate Barra among the best of them for its tranquillity, friendliness and the variety of its scenery.

Kate and Rob Goodchild, Scottish Borders.

 

We arrived to a lovely warm cottage after a rough sea crossing.  Two days of glorious walking, both up Heaval (well worth the trudge up the steep side) and to Vatersay, wonderful beaches and many birds seen.   Saw seals this morning but alas no dolphins as yet...Flowers on the machair are lovely.  Such a lovely cottage in a tranquil setting (well most of the time!  Sleep disturbed by corncarkes! But lovely to see them)  Barra is lovely – unspoilt – We would recommend it.

P.S. Trudie my dog loved the cottage and Barra’s beaches too!

Val Kirk and Barbara Sims (sisters), Lake District

 

Had a brilliant week – appreciated the thick walls of the cottage – very hot outside! Don’t want to leave, we must come back soon.

Ian and Dorothy Leckie, Eyemouth, Berwickshire.

 

We shared our  bedroom with a corncrake.  Not literally but it felt that way.  He called through the summer night – but we never saw him.  Our great claim: we swam every day from the rocks.  Never less than bracing, but a good start to breakfast.  The west coast gave us our best walks.  Thank you.

Richard Verity and Meike Ziervogel.

 

Had a wonderful week – mixed weather.  The highlight was a trip to Mingulay.  It was wonderful!  Wonderful sail, majestic cliffs + caves, wild flowers, sea-birds in abundance, sandy bays.  “Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee – how great Thou art”.

Joyce and Mike Drew.

 

We love this cosy little haven – wonderful location, too.  We have been SO lucky with the weather – lots of sun + not enough rain to be bothersome.  Lots of lovely walks + wildlife.

Diana Coman + Mike Ainsworth from Lancashire.

 

Mixed weather but never cold.  2 very wet days.  Cycling skills improved over fortnight!!  Fantastic beaches and ‘big views’.  Plenty of wildlife including spotting corncrake twice from lounge window (+photos to prove it).  Highlights – Mingulay trip; view from top of Heaval; walks around Tangasdale and Vatersay and Eoligarry.  We have been very comfortable and warm in this delightful little cottage.

Jean Dobbin, Katherine Angus, Friends from York

 

Once again a lovely fortnight spent in this cosy little cottage.  The weather has been very good, lots of sunshine + hardly any rain.  The boat trip to Mingulay was excellent... We saw dolphins and a huge basking shark – we’ll never forget this experience!  Thank-you Ippa for making the cottage so clean and warm for our arrival – wonderful after a 14 hour journey!

David and Jill Pickworth.

 

After a windswept week under canvas what a calm and cosy cottage at South Bank.  Read a passage from a book...”the islands are badly served for trees but are luxuriant for washing” didn’t think Bobbie would take it so seriously!!  Found a new corner of Barra this week... Brilliant...

Paul and Bobbie, Southampton

 

A wonderful 2 weeks rest and relaxation in this cosy, perfect cottage and beautiful serene island.  The updates to the cottage since I last came were a lovely surprise as was seeing a golden eagle over the cottage at “cottage height”, although his feathers were bedraggled he was still a stunning sight!!   We had  a fantastic time, just what we needed!  Thank you.  

 

2011

 

Ever since these spectacular Hebridean storms began, all my wife has done is gaze through the black house window.  If they carry on much longer I will have to let her in.

Anon.

 

...cosy and clean...Had a great week of walks in great conditions for the season....Had a fine seafood feast on our last night with prawns and scallop from Barratlantic factory and mussels, whelks from the rocks.

Des and Alison McKenna, Galashiels

 

Wind, sun and hail.  Waves have been amazing, have taken some good photos.  All going well till the car broke down at the airport.  Hoping the RAC has sorted it all out and we are towed on to the ferry tonight.  Sorry to leave the seals.

S. Olimide.

 

Thank you very much for making the cottage so cosy for our arrival.  We have been very comfortable here, even when the gales seemed to threaten to take the roof off!  We’ve been here 2½ weeks and done much exploring and found wonderful walks.  We’ve seen minky whales, otters and golden eagles – all very excitimng.  The coal-fire is a god-send...We’ve had a great holiday, batteries recharged for Christmas.  N.B. Fish sold at local fish factory is superb.

David and Jill Pickworth, Youlgreave, Nr. Bakewell, Derbys.

 

There are warningsof gales in Malin, Hebrides and South East Iceland – storm force 11 to hurricane 12 issued at 0-500 on the 25th December.  The wind plays the song of the sea – salt-spray rain lashes the south view.  The day could be many of a winter where the coal fire flickers warmth inside the grey that whistles and tugs, but this one is Christmas 2011.

John and Mary.  Scottish Lowlands. 

 

Two weeks of outstanding weather, all the catalogue pictures came true.  We enjoyed this island, to cycle the hill on the way to Castlebay was challenging again and again, we enjoyed the nature with all the flowers, birds and sealife, this cosy cottage  with the close distance to the ever changing sea and, last not least, the very friendly and open-minded people living on this island.

Sophie, Fritz and Caspar from Rostock, Germany.

 

Arrived last Saturday.  Have had a great time.  Peace and quiet...brilliant.  Locals very friendly.  Weather was great for the first three days – mixed thereafter.  Enjoyed the fishing.  Best place for mackerel the causeway at Vatersay.  Girlfriend caught more fish than me...will never hear the end of it now : )  Hope you enjoy staying as much as we did.

Des and Andrea.

 

This was our first holiday in Barra, or any of the  Hebridean islands and we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We were married last week an chose the island for our honeymoon.  The sun has shone for us all week and it has been warm enough to swim in the sea.  We bumped into an old friend who, by coincidence, was also here and knew the island well, he was able to give us a great tour and took us along the Grin Peninsular where we encountered at least 30 seals (at a distance) before climbing up to the most dramatic views of our stay. My arm is growing tired so I’ll stop there (partly due to an afternoon in a kayak) but we could not have had a better time nor a nicer but’n’ben.

Chris and Flora, Oxford...Berlin.      

 

Our first visit to Barra and we love the island.  Locals very friendly, you will notice they wave every time you pass a car, so make sure you acknowledge anyone you pass by! Cottage is lovely and cosy, even more so when the wind is blowing a gale outside and wild, but it’s cosy inside.  Explored the island but will certainly return again, it’s just so peaceful and calm.  Beautiful beaches, make sure you find them all.  Vatersay is such a calming peaceful island, also recommend the village hall for lunch or even just a cuppa, don’t miss the homemade cakes.  Boat trip to Kisimul Castle in Castlebay is a must.  Cafe Kisimul is worth a visit, lovely food.  Heritage Centre in Castlebay has a lovely cafe.  Isle of Barra Hotel on the west side of Island worth a visit for lunch or cuppa, fab location with wonderful view.

Weather been mixed in our week, showers come and go but it didn’t spoil our stay!

Hope you enjoy the island as much as we have.

The Drape family, Northumberland.

 

We have really enjoyed our stay in this cosy cottage and on this beautiful island.  With stunning beaches to explore, hills to climb, the castle to visit, and lochs to fish in, it has been our perfect holiday.  We have especially enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere and great friendliness of all the people, and will be sad to leave.

Margaret and Mike.           

  

"This was our second visit to Barra.  It is a beautiful place.  The people here are really friendly.  During our stay the weather had been stormy but the cottage has kept us warm and cosy."   

 

Ray and Andy.  Congleton, Cheshire.

 

"An extremely relaxing and enjoyable week.  The island is probably the most scenic and friendly of all the Scottish islands.  Fresh prawns, crab and fish in abundance.  A great location for our week in the sun, wind, rain, hail, showers..." 

 

Rachel and Andy. 

 

 

 

"I have walked off my legs, got sunburnt, had to wish for rain to get some rest.  I never read my kindle, bought specially!  I timed it for baby lambs + primroses, oystercatcher, redshanks, curlew, stonechats, seals, grey lag geese, pair of golden eagles, cormorants, shags..." 

Jayne Lewis, Pershore  

 

 

2010

 

"We enjoyed our stay in well-placed South Bank Cottage very much.  It is well-equipped, comfortable and cosy, which made rain less of a nuisance than otherwise would have been the case.  Barra’s east coast with its inlets, many birds and flowers is an interesting and beautiful part of the island." 

Angie and Hans Weeda, Leiden, The Netherlands.

 

"A great week exploring the island.  The cottage is a great base – cosy in the storms!" 

 

Katherine, Alex and Robin (4 1/2 months).

 

"Just arrived and I love it!!  Only problem is there is no TV so I am going to have to talk to my other half, well no holiday is perfect!! J

 

Ben Wright

 

"I have had a great week in Barra exploring the island.  The cottage is in a lovely setting and well equipped.  Barra is a beautiful island and South Bank Cottage is a great base to explore so many thanks!" 

 

Jess.

 

"We planned to leave on 20th August but 70mph winds cancelled the ferry and we “came home” to our immaculate, warm South Bank for our extra night, grateful for the extraordinarily thick walls, the known shelter and the great warmth and comfort as the waves whitened into rage outside, unthinkable in the balmy days that had preceded it.  Swimming at Vatersay, twice in emerald turquoise seas, greeting a seal in the bay, delighting in the beauty and barren splendour of weather and rock… " 

 

Miranda and Andy.

Many thanks for the lovely cottage, so sweetly cosy and magnificently located.  We are hoping to come back before too long!  We saw seals almost every day, enjoyed the beaches (quiet in the east and south, very stormy in the west) and had feasts of really fresh fish (also very cheap) from the fishmonger’s van, which is parked in Castlebay...A very restful holiday!" 

Clémence and Ralph O’Connor, Aberdeenshire.

 

 

Curlew call, oystercatcher piping, seal peeping, wild winds, clear skies with silver sands, sand dunes and Atlantic surf.  Locals raise their hand in greeting...A wild and enchanting land.  All this with this cosy cottage to return to, firelight and whistling winds...everything I hoped for and more.  An inspiring creative six weeks.  I depart refreshed with memories full of wonder.  Thank you...I hope to return...

Solitary heron...the spiralling call of the curlew began soon after dawn.  Flocks of lapwings flew over the hills and came down in  the peace of the evening...The traveller’s instinct to inhabit the moment. 

Angela Guille.

 

 

From previous years:

 

“A lovely holiday in a lovely spot, sunshine all week, great walks and friendly people.  Snug and cosy in the cottage.” 

Derek and Anita Perkins, Bromsgrove.

 

“Excellent week in beautiful location...lovely cottage, clean with everything we needed...what a wonderful place.” 

Heather and Jonathan Holme, Forgandenny, Perth.

“This cottage has been welcoming and cosy.  It is very well equipped...It is one thing to see this little cottage on the website and on Google Earth.  It is not obvious though what a little treasure of a place it is to keep us comfortable during this fabulous week exploring Barra, Vatersay and Mingulay.” 

Helen McNeil and David Williams, Auckland, New Zealand (Aotearoa).

 

 

“Beautiful island, fair weather and a cosy cottage!” 

Vincent Pickering and Annette Lake.

 

“A lovely wee house that wraps itself around you – I came to unwind – I am unwound...”. 

Bridget Doogan.

 

 

“A beautiful island – the cottage was ‘just right’...Hope to return soon.” 

Michael and Liz Bennett, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

 

“Wonderful views from cottage.  Lovely walks headlands and beaches...sighting of seals on two evenings – wonderful!” 

Alan and Pat Hancock, South Shropshire.

 

“A wonderful place to escape from the hectic nature of life at the cutting edge of the NHS...Long evenings, good food, the cottage definitely grows on you.  White beaches, turquoise seas.” 

Gavin and Louise Stewart,  U.K.