Barra: Life at the ends of the Earth

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For centuries, the magic of the Scottish Islands has drawn travellers from far and wide. Grand Tour of the Scottish Islands with presenter Paul Murton returns for a second series, visiting the Orkneys in the north, and travelling as far as the island of Gigha in the southwest.

In the first episode of the series Paul is travelling to the Outer Hebrides and the beautiful islands of Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay.

Meeting local people on Eriskay he discovers how this islands remote location helped preserve a unique way of life for centuries and also allowed the locals to spirit away thousands of bottles of whisky when the steam ship SS Politician famously ran aground here in 1941.

This was one of the less sober chapters in the island’s history and was the inspiration for the famous film Whisky Galore.

Moving onto Barra, Paul visits the only airport in the world where scheduled flights use the beach as the landing strip, finds out about the island’s tradition of crofting, and goes foraging for cockles.

Heading across the causeway to Vatersay, Paul joins local fishermen trawling for lobsters and ends his journey at spectacular Barra Head which has been uninhabited for more than a hundred years.

Amid the stunning scenery, the six-part series has some choice nuggets of Scottish history as well as tales from modern-day islanders about their livelihoods, such as peat-cutting on Jura, and interesting pursuits, such as sand yachting on the beaches of Tiree, interspersed with archive clips and pictures of times past.

Says Paul Murton: ‘Generations of travellers have set out to explore the magic of the Scottish Islands. I’m following in their footsteps, exploring remote and fascinating places scattered around our coastline, and meeting the people who call these islands home.’

BARRA: Life at the ends of the Earth, will be on BBC One Scotland, 7.30-8.00pm, on Monday, Sept 22.