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Barra Day Trip [BE] - 1 July 2017

Barra Day Trip [BE] - 1 July 2017

Old Feb 17, 18, 2:38 pm
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Barra Day Trip [BE] - 1 July 2017

Barra Day Trip - 1 July 2017

Well after saying on my Innsbruck trip report that I rarely post trip report these days - this is now my second on the same day! Anyway, another interesting trip to a spectacular place. This time it is to Barra in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. This is the only place in the world were scheduled flights use the beach as a runway.

I have been wanting to do this trip to Barra for several years but never got around to booking it. In early 2017 I decided to book it for July (hoping for good weather!).

Barra airport as shown on Google maps

Er, where are the runways???





I booked this as a return. Surprisingly there were four rotations operating that day on the route, so I decided to take the first flight out, have a few hours in Barra, and then get the BRR-GLA back on the third rotation.

GLA-BRR-GLA - £158.13

BE6851 0940d, 1055a
BE6856 1520d, 1630a

When I went the flights were Flybe flights but operated by Loganair. As of September 2017 Flybe and Loganair split so now Loganair operate and market the flights under their own flight numbers.

I came down from work to LHR on Friday evening to catch the late flight to GLA. Had a few hours in the Concorde Room (CCR) in LHR T5 and had a few drinks and something to eat. As I commented on the Innsbruck TR, I won’t put any photos of T5 experience on here, there are plenty of reports on the CCR already anyway if you want to see what it looks like.





At GLA I had booked a room at the airport Premier Inn which was perfectly fine for £60. It was a 5 minute walk from the airport.

It turned out that a fellow bar fly FT’er @Filthy Monkey was also heading up to GLA but from LGW and arriving a bit later. I ended up heading back to the airport to meet him and we went to his house which is a few minutes away to catch up. I eventually made my way back to the Premier Inn for around 2am.

In the morning I headed off to the airport, left my rucksack at left luggage so all I was taking was my camera bag, went through security which was quick, and had a restorative breakfast and coffee. I wandered off after that to find our plane which was at gate 3 on the D pier.



The route exclusively uses DHC-6 Twin Otters which have 19 seats. The first few rows are in a 1x2 configuration, there is no “A” down near the exit at the back, and then the back row against the bulkhead has 3 seats.

On the way out I was sat in 2A as I thought it would give good views. The plane was fairly full, so maybe 12-14 people. In the second photo the person checking the boarding passes at the steps is the first officer - she also did the safety demo later on.





Unusually there is no cockpit door or separation of the cockpit from the cabin on these aircraft, you can see in for the entire flight. After the safety demo the pilots did say conditions were a bit dodgy at Barra, so it was possible we wouldn’t be able to land. But we would go anyway and hopefully things would have improved a bit by the time we arrived.







Video of our take-off from GLA.








After the late night I did nod off for a bit during our flight. As you may expect there was nothing in terms of cabin service - there was no one to serve anything anyway, and the seat belt signs I think remained on for the full flight. Unless it isn’t obvious, there is no toilet onboard so you better go beforehand or be prepared to keep those legs crossed!

We were soon beginning our approach in to Barra.







And the video of our landing, surprisingly smooth.


After landing we pulled up near the “terminal” and everyone got off, with a few folks stopping for photos.
















Last edited by KARFA; Feb 17, 18 at 3:00 pm
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Old Feb 17, 18, 2:59 pm
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My plan was to watch the aircraft taking off first then have a walk around for a while before coming back to catch my flight to back to GLA.





Videos of the engine start, taxi out, and take-off.






And then the aircraft disappeared in to the distance so I went for a walk. It was a bit breezy but otherwise the weather seemed ok.





I am not a bird watcher so frankly I have no idea when it comes to recognising them. However, I spotted and heard these ones and took some photos - I was later told they were lapwings.







Inevitably after about an hour it started to rain. Despite some quick walking back to the airport to get back inside I was soaked.





Inside the terminal building it is basically one room with a check in desk on one side and the rest taken up by tables for a café. I dried out over the next hour and had some tea and a snack.

I didn’t take any photos inside, but if you want to see what it looks like have a look at the trip reports I have linked to at the bottom of this post.

The weather improved fortunately and I went back out for a walk to the beach to the west of the airport.







I then went out to watch the flight coming in.



Video of the landing.










Boarding for the flight was very east. Barra is one of a few airports in Scotland which has abandoned security checks so you have a quick bp check and walk across the beach to the aircraft.







For the flight back it was the same flight crew as earlier. I was sat on the back row this time so had lots of leg room.









And our take-off from Barra.








Did we take a wrong turn? We seem to be over the Caribbean all of a sudden!





I had no idea this plane was only made in 2015, I thought it was an old aircraft.



And back over a wet and windy Glasgow.



After getting to GLA you are route out via the baggage hall so if you are connecting you have to go landside and then up to security. I was booked on a BA flight back to LHR so amused myself in the BA lounge for a few hours before heading back south.

I hope you have enjoyed this little report and the photos from this unique beach airport. I enjoyed my day out in Barra despite the rain.

Other good Barra trip reports:
The world’s only scheduled beach landing – Glasgow to Barra (GLA – BRR) by @LondonAndy

The Barra Beach Landing, and Hebridean Hiking by @TheFlyingDoctor
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Old Feb 17, 18, 4:50 pm
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Old Feb 18, 18, 1:28 am
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Great stuff. There is one other beach landing in the UK you can do, Southport during the airshow. Light aircraft only and no schedule services, but not so far from LBA.

You haven't managed the worlds shortest scheduled flight yet, surprising as a Loganair frequent flyer.^
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Old Feb 18, 18, 3:32 am
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Originally Posted by rapidex View Post
You haven't managed the worlds shortest scheduled flight yet, surprising as a Loganair frequent flyer.^
Good idea, I will have to look at that for this summer adventure
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Old Feb 18, 18, 3:50 am
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Thank you for the trip report! Brought back memories of the trip I did in 2008. Did you go to the Castlebay? There used to be a bus service from the aiport. I remember I experienced sun, snow, hail and rain within my 4h there

Here's an image of LogainAir aircraft painted in BA livery:
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Old Feb 18, 18, 3:53 am
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Great TR, KARFA! This is definitely on my to-do list!
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Old Feb 18, 18, 4:05 am
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Originally Posted by megaloman View Post
Thank you for the trip report! Brought back memories of the trip I did in 2008. Did you go to the Castlebay? There used to be a bus service from the aiport. I remember I experienced sun, snow, hail and rain within my 4h there
Thanks for your comments.

There still is a bus service to Castlebay, I think departures from the airport are timed with the flights. I didn’t take it though.
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Old Mar 1, 18, 2:11 pm
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Good photos, I did this trip in 2015 - October, like you it was a trip I had wanted to take for a few years, The weather on the day was excellent for the outbound flight and we went low-level about 2000 feet, great views.

The aircraft I flew on was in the same livery but was G-SGTS, seat 4A on the way out and the same seat as you on the way back. Would like to do the Westray to Papa Westray shortest scheduled flight one day but it’s not an easy task from what I hear.
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Old Mar 10, 18, 4:27 am
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Originally Posted by Nimrod1965 View Post
Good photos, I did this trip in 2015 - October, like you it was a trip I had wanted to take for a few years, The weather on the day was excellent for the outbound flight and we went low-level about 2000 feet, great views.

The aircraft I flew on was in the same livery but was G-SGTS, seat 4A on the way out and the same seat as you on the way back. Would like to do the Westray to Papa Westray shortest scheduled flight one day but it’s not an easy task from what I hear.
Thanks Nimrod1965.

I have been doing some research on the Westray-Papa Westray flight after rapidex's suggestion up-thread. It seems you have to book these Orkney inter island flights by calling Loganair, with contact details and timetable here:

https://www.loganair.co.uk/travel-in...land-services/

With so few seats on the plane I don't know what the availability is like, I am fairly flexible in terms of booking months ahead but it would have to be a Saturday/Sunday flight for me. I think @Sealink has quite a bit of experience booking these inter-island flights from his trip reports so perhaps he could comment?

For this summer it looks like there is one flight on Saturday and one on Sunday which does a circle route from Kirkwall to Westray, then Papa Westray, then back to Kirkwall:

Saturday
Kirkwall - 0830d
Westray - 0843a, 0851d
Papa Westray - 0853a, 0901d
Kirkwall - 0914a

Sunday
Kirkwall - 1600d
Westray - 1613a, 1621d
Papa Westray - 1623a, 1631d
Kirkwall - 1644a

The Saturday flight would be better for me, but it would mean having to get to KOI by late Friday probably via EDI or ABZ, and therefore take time off work on Saturday to travel up - but I would struggle with holidays this year so it may have to be a 2019 trip.
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Old Mar 10, 18, 9:31 pm
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That trip looks like a fun adventure! Loved the photos and the description!!
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Old Mar 12, 18, 7:12 am
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Originally Posted by aquamarinesteph View Post
That trip looks like a fun adventure! Loved the photos and the description!!
Thanks aquamarinesteph ^ it was fund and highly recommended.
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Old Mar 13, 18, 8:34 am
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Lovely read, thanks KARFA!! Any photos of the inside of the terminal?
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Old Mar 13, 18, 9:31 am
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Thanks KARFA, seems to have been a fun day
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Old Mar 13, 18, 11:11 am
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Originally Posted by tedcruz View Post
Lovely read, thanks KARFA!! Any photos of the inside of the terminal?
Thanks. I didn't take any inside, but have a look at the two other BRR trip reports linked to at the bottom of mine as they have some photos.

Originally Posted by thibderoc View Post
Thanks KARFA, seems to have been a fun day
Thanks, it was
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