I3 Crack yourself a crab at the edge of the Hebrides — Sally Kinnes tells you how.
Barri! l5 thC lilSI Ol th 0U!” ‘ There are almost no trees on llchrich‘. thc l‘OIIOm 0f 11 strip 0f Barra: the wind is too strong and islands which trails off at the (recs have given up the unequal southern end into the Atlantic in a struggle f()f;j\'cr[jc;1l cxistcncc. 5mm} “ldlmlnlShlng lSIZII‘dS- “mks Instead it is the diminutive which has and sciiltirtls. llll had the best chance ofsurvival and there Mediterranean type weather it is a wealth of wild orchids and rare would be flooded with people. with flowers, butterflies everywhere. and its EICFCS OlWhllC Simle l‘L‘ilChCS masses of primroses which turn the made spectacularly beautiful by i whole island yellow in May. 011 huge Atlantic hrcakcrs creaming ' walks you suddenly come across (“CHM “ml” in 5911] Bil." “Wards unexpected lochs full of waterlilics. thc Silntl Lluttcs- BU! l1 l8 R‘mUlC - unnoticed and undiscovered. 'l'he somewhere between the 'lrish Sea‘ and ‘South East Iceland‘ on the shipping forecast and the weather is ruthlessly unreliable. As it is. Barra is wonderfully empty.
Ferries to the island leave from Oban. and if you miss one you have to wait 2 days for the next. The trains and ferries are hopelessly unsynchronised always leaving you more time in ()ban than there are things to do (though Luigi's fish and .. . .. .. ,' _ chips are a must). ()ban is also the ‘ last chance to buy a lettuce at reasonable cost. for ‘imported‘ fruit and vegetables on Barra become prohibitively expensive and make rarities ofeven humble fruit. The (ilasgow-Oban train is part of the West Highland line and includes an observation carriage at the very end of the train. a post-war coach with wooden panelling and leather straps for opening the windows. There are no formal seats. but the furniture includes a writing desk and most importantly. big windows on three sides so you can watch the gorgeous views and receding track. I accepted the coffee. declined the commentary offered by the tartan-clad hostess. and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery from a SOs-style armchair. On the crossing. the ferry usually accommodates a ﬂock of sheep on the lower deck often the cause of some delay and not a little resistance. ()n the upper deck people are pressed to the rails. cagoules next to harbours. sunning themselves and trying to distinguish Rhum from Big in the distance.
lochs are full oftrout and you cannot help but eat outrageously well. The abundance of fish means it tends to be high-protein with the odd high-ranking tomato or lettuce. but heaps of wild mushrooms are there for the picking in season. You can place an order with the lobster man and go along and make an inky-blue choice from his boat or better still. fish for yourself. (‘ockling is the easiest. as cockles are abundantly available just below the sand and offer guaranteed success. With judicious timing. at low tide you can walk across to ()rosay. a tiny island in the bay. (along with the cows who walk over to graze) pick mussels from crystal—clear water and be back in time to cook them for supper. Mussels contain tiny little pearls _’ which makes for much thoughtful chewing over dinner as potential
necklaces are swallowed or crushed. We took out a small boat and fished for mackerel with multi-hookcd lines — maximum return for minimum effort — and also crab in big lobster potsor creels. Seals. endearingly inquisitive surround the boat and push their noses through the water to see what's going on. These particularly happy animals spend their time sunning themselves on rocks and calling to each other. ('rab is more difficult to eat than to catch and at supper the table is laid with nutcrackers and long slender pointed knives. (obviously for the claws. whose contents l mentally abandoned). I was helped enthusiastically with the nutcracker operation. and crunched claws shot across the room. ricocheting offthe sofa. As the nearest shop is some eight miles away. we made our own bread rather than go without - you cannot. after all. mop up a cream and wine sauce with an oatcake.
Barra has one single-track road. usually covered with sand. with passing places for other cars. or more likely. sheep. The post office van obligingly doubles as a bus on its circular trips round the island. The west side is the wildest and most dramatic with no substantial land mass until America and there are beautiful sunsets over the 'l'raigh l€ias (pronounced tri-ash ) or west beach. There is a small oblong bit of sand stuck onto the north end of the island like a cactus. which is the township of Eoligarry. one of the best parts ofthe island. It is joined to the main part by a tiny waist of land which makes a huge bay and it is on this beach that aeroplanes land on what must be one of the most attractive and least-known airstrips in Europe. l’lanes are sometimes forced to drive into the sea to slow down as they land. the force of the wind is so strong. and then taxi out again so that you have a sandy and not an aquatic disembarking. There is a daily flight from (ilasgow in the summer (times of ﬂights vary with the tides) and the drone of the familiar red and white aircraft. like some big mechanised insect in Barra‘s otherwise empty sky. always gives some clue of the time of day on a lost and lazy afternoon walk.
WIN A TRIP T0 PARIS :
In order to allow for Bank Holiday post hold-ups we‘re giving you a last chance to win our trip to Paris.
WLPNO Transalpino the Rail Way to liurope for under Zos are kindly giving away two free return rail tickets to Paris. worth over £140. ’l‘ransalpino. offering over 2.1“) destinations as well as insurance and budget accommodation have offices in both (ilasgow and Edinburgh. For information about travel from vour local station at up to 50“} off full fares phone 041 333 9177 orll3l 557 3140. The competition is not restricted to under 26s and the
tickets will be valid until the end of the year. To enter. just answer the questions below. complete the tie-breaker and send it to Paris Quiz,
The List, 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1
ITE to arrive no later than 7 April. The winner will be announced in The List of IS April.
1. Which American rock star is buried at l’ere l.achaise cemetery?
2. ()n which island does Notre Dame
3. By what name is Paris University better known‘.’
4. When and why was the liilfel
Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
l Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
. . . . . . . . . . .. Daytime tel. no..............
Tiebreaker In no more than 15 words 3 complete the following. ‘I would like
toclimb the Eiffel Tower because
3 Conditions Employees of The List. J 'l‘ransalpino. their agentsand
distributors cannot enter. The
winner will be drawn from the
correct entries by the editor. whose
decision is final. There is no cash
alternative to the prize which must be taken up before 31 December. 1986.
SHAMIANA ssrauaaum“ l4 BROUGHAM STREET,
EDINBURGH Telephone: 031-229 5578
Specialising in North Indian and Kashmiri cuisine. Successive AA Rosette Award winner.
i z \. 12/.) M} Al, AA 1;, J.[‘\/CS»\
WllOLEFOOD/VECETARIAN 2-3 ST PATRICK SQUARE,
"The [test vegetarian restaurant in Scotland" The Scotsman. 33.00—11.30 pm.
Open 12.00—200 p.m.
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