1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Barra

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Barra, or Barray (Scand. Baraey, isle of the ocean), an island of the outer Hebrides, Inverness-shire, Scotland. Pop. (1901) 2362. It lies about 5 m. S.W. of South Uist, is 8 m. in length and from 2 to 4 m. in breadth, save at the sandy isthmus 2 m. below Scurrival Point, where it is only a few hundred yards broad. The rock formation is gneiss. The highest hill is Heaval (1260 ft.) and there are several small lochs. The chief village is Castlebay, at which the Glasgow steamer calls once a week. This place derives its name from the castle of Kishmul standing on a rock in the bay, which was once the stronghold of the McNeills of Barra, one of the oldest of Highland clans. There are remains of ancient chapels, Danish duns and Druidical circles on the island. There is communication by ferry with South Uist. The parish comprises a number of smaller islands and islets — among them Frida, Gighay, Hellisay, Flodda to the N.E., and Vatersay, Pabbay, Mingalay (pop. 135) and Berneray to the S.E. — and contains 4000 acres of arable land and 18,000 acres of meadow and hill pasture. The cod, ling and herring fisheries are important, and the coasts abound with shell-fish, especially cockles, for which it has always been famous. On Barra Head, the highest point of Berneray, and also the most southerly point of the outer Hebrides chain, is a lighthouse 680 ft. above high water.