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InformationInformation: Full details, including current timetables and prices can be found on CalMac's website.
MV Loch Bhrusda at the Ardmhor Ferry Terminal, Barra
MV Loch Bhrusda at the Ardmhor Ferry Terminal, Barra

For many years the best way to transport a vehicle between Barra and South Uist was via the triangular ferry service linking Castlebay on Barra, Lochboisdale on South Uist, and Oban.

The Bridge of the Loch Bhrusda
The Bridge of the Loch Bhrusda
...And the Passenger Cabin
...And the Passenger Cabin
Loch Bhrusda Leaving Eriskay
Loch Bhrusda Leaving Eriskay
Waiting Room at Ardmhor, Barra
Waiting Room at Ardmhor, Barra
Inside the Waiting Room Cafe
Inside the Waiting Room Cafe

That all changed dramatically, and for the better, with the coming into full operation of the Sound of Barra ferry service in 2003, when the MV Loch Bhrusda moved south from the Sound of Harris service. The result was a fast, short and regular (and very noisy) vehicle ferry service linking Barra to the rest of the Western Isles.

For current timetable and fare information, and for bookings, visit CalMac's website. It is worth remembering that this service operates seven days per week: there is a Sunday service.

Otter Sculpture at Ardmhor
Otter Sculpture at Ardmhor
Loading at Ardmhor
Loading at Ardmhor
Slipway at Ceann a Gharaidh, Eriskay
Slipway at Ceann a Gharaidh, Eriskay
MV Loch Bhrusda Seen in Oban
MV Loch Bhrusda Seen in Oban

To accompany the building of the Eriskay Causeway, fine new harbours and slipways were built at Ardmhor on the north east side of Barra, and at Ceann a Gharaidh on Eriskay's west coast. In 2002 these were used by a small landing craft type ferry, the Eilean Bhearnaraigh, to run a direct ferry service across the Sound of Barra for the first time. This had limited capacity and the result was that demand often exceeded the capacity of the ferry to carry it. With the arrival of the MV Loch Bhrusda, the Eilean Bhearnaraigh moved to Orkney to provide a service linking the monastery on Papa Stronsay in Orkney to nearby Stronsay.

The fully operational Sound of Barra service completes a project that been under way for 60 years, since the first bridge was built across the South Ford between Benbecula and South Uist in 1942. For the first time ever, you can now travel by car the full length of the Western Isles from the Butt of Lewis to Vatersay within a single day.

This is a distance of only about 140 miles, but it is an achievement unimaginable until recently. It relies on the existence of the fairly long-standing causeways at North Ford and South Ford, plus the more recent additions linking Vatersay, Berneray and Eriskay to their larger neighbours.

And the new ferry services across the Sound of Harris and Sound of Barra completed the chain and confirmed the Western Isles as a single interconnected series of communities with internal transport links as good as, or better than, those with the mainland.

Passengers waiting to catch their ferry at Ardmhor on Barra now benefit from an excellent cafe in the waiting room, open 363 days per year. On fine days they can pass the time on the terrace outside the cafe overlooking the harbour: and whatever the weather most will pause to admire the remarkable otter statue close by. This is the work of Lewis-based artist, Iain Brady.

MV Loch Bhrusda Loading at the Ardmhor Ferry Terminal, Barra
MV Loch Bhrusda Loading at the Ardmhor Ferry Terminal, Barra
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