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31 August 2022

After visiting three North Uist beaches to begin my first Western Islands visit, I drove through ‘the chain’ to stay at the Polochar Inn on the very south coast of South Uist (leaving all the South Uist beaches for another visit). Next morning I was up bright and early to catch the first ferry to Barra, where I would spend the day beach-hopping. It was another beautiful blue-sky day and I knew I was in for a treat. Luckily, the midges causing waiting ferry passengers some irritation on Eriksay failed to make the short journey over and the whole day remained midge-free. First stop was Vatersay, which of course I had heard so much about. Vatersay is the small southernmost inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides, connected to Barra by a causeway and VERY popular … largely because of its amazing beaches. The two most visited beaches are barely yards apart, one facing east, one facing west, and separated by a road. I parked midway between the two and plumped for Traigh a Bhaigh first. To reach the beach, you’re expected to pass through the famous Vatersay gate – perhaps the most photographed gate in Scotland! The spot also marks the start of the 156 mile Hebridean Way, which runs all the way to the Butt of Lewis. Surprisingly, despite the beautiful morning, the beach was empty. It was smaller than I imagined but perfectly compact and basically, pretty much perfect.