Berneray is a small island in the Sound of Harris, just off the island of North Uist, and linked to it by a causeway. It can also be reached by ferry from Leverburgh in the Isle of Harris. A much earlier ferry service, operating from Bays Loch, was started up in the early 18th century by the then owners of the island, the MacLeods of Harris. A few years earlier in 1697 a village on the island called Siabaidh met tragedy when it was consumed by sand during a storm. Kelp was once the mainstay of the island's economy, but after that declined it became a major grower of potatoes. Like so many other small Scottish islands, Berneray's population has declined steadily over the years, but the opening of the causeway by Prince Charles in 1999 marked a new era of connectivity for the island, along with the harbour which was built around the same time for the Leverburgh ferry, all of which has made life a little easier for the remaining inhabitants. For visitors, there is a vast, sparkling beach on the west side of the island, a small selection of places to stay including a youth hostel, and a Visitor Information Centre at The Nurse's Cottage, home to the island's Historical Society. Each year in July the island holds its Berneray Week, which includes events such as races, an RNLI Open Day and Gaelic taster classes and song classes.
Map of the island.
© 2004 Richard Webb, via Wikimedia Commons