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Recording Your Heritage Online

Event ID 567113

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Recording Your Heritage Online


The final stepping stone in the Hebridean archipelago, with 190m high cliffs and sprayswept Barra Head at its southernmost point. Round the principal settlement area on the island's north-east coast, and on the south side of its central ridge, archaeological evidence points to sites of Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Norse vintage. No trace survives of a chapel, but an early medieval cross-marked slab lies in the burial ground just south of Maclean's Point. Berneray's population reached 28 in 1851; the last native islanders left in 1910.

A half mile haul up Mullach a' Lusgan, and the Lighhouse keepers' graveyard lies near the cliff top, ringed by a massive wall. Barra Head Lighthouse, Robert Stevenson, 1830-33 , built by James Smith of Inverness Virtually identical to that at Hynish on Tiree, the granite lighthouse breasts the promontory of Sron an Duin, raising its light 580 ft above the Atlantic surge. Across the cobbled courtyard (which in severe gales can be almost impossible to cross, and into which fish are sometimes blown) stands the low, flat-roofed terrace of keepers' cottages. Graded in status, they might be in Edinburgh's New Town, such is the quality of their joinery: a curved door, fluted architraves, cornices, shutters and fielded panelling. Lighthouse automated in 1980.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

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