Barra Head to South Uist

Introduction

This area covers the south end of the Outer Hebrides, from Barra Head on Berneray in the south, including the islands to the south of Barra, Barra and most of South Uist. The area stops short of Benbecula and the channel around it. At the east side, the area extends up to just north of Loch Sgiopoirt. On the west side, it extends to a point just south of Rubha Aird na Machrach.

Times of high water

Berneray: High water is 1 hours and 5 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Castle Bay: High water is 1 hours and 10 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Bagh a Tuath: High water is 1 hours and 10 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Hellisay and Gighay: High water is 57 minutes before high water at Ullapool The tides runs into and out of both entrances to the channel between the islands at the same time. The flow may reach 2 knots, strongest during the first two hours of the flood or ebb.

Sound of Barra: High water is 52 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Acairseid Mhor, Eriskay: High water is 32 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Loch Baghasdail: High water is 45 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Loch Aineort: High water is 35 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Loch Sgiopoirt: High water is 52 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Tidal streams

Barra Head (Ceann Bharraigh): The east going stream begins at 6 hours and 5 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs. East going stream runs for only 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Caolas Bhearnaraigh: Sound of Berneray The east going stream begins at 6 hours and 5 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs. The east-going stream runs for only 4 hours and 15 minutes.

East side of Mingulay and islands to the north: The north north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 10 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The south south-west going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs.

West side of Mingulay, Pabbay etc.: The north north-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The south south-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs.

Caolas Mhiughlaigh: Sound of Mingulay. The east going stream begins at 5 hours after high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The east going stream reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs. A heavy race extends around 700m from the north tip of Mingulay while the east-going stream is running.

Caolas Phabaigh: Sound of Pabbay. The east south-east going stream begins at 5 hours after high water at Ullapool. The west north-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The east south-east going stream reaches a speed of 4 knots at springs. The west north-west going stream reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. The east going stream is strongest for the first 3 hours. Eddies form on both sides of the channel, with flows here turning 3 hours earlier than the main stream.

Caolas Shanndraigh: Sound of Sandray The east going stream begins at 5 hours and 5 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 40 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The east going stream reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs.

South of Rubha Charnain, east of Castlebay: The east north-east going stream begins at 5 hours before high water at Ullapool. The west south-west going stream begins at 2 hours after high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 0.5 knots at springs.

Between Orasaigh and Eilean Carragraich: The east south-east going stream begins at 5 hours before high water at Ullapool. The west north-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 15 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 0.5 knots at springs. The new causeway probably makes the streams insignificant.

North west top of Vatersay: Overfalls occur.

East side of Barra: The north north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 10 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The south south-west going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs. The flow is less away from salient points.

West coast of Barra: The north north-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The south south-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs. The flow is less away from salient points.

Sound of Barra: Tidal streams flow into and out of the Sound of Barra from both sides. They meet and separate in Outer Oitir Mhor (south east of Fuday) and west of Eriskay.

South east entrance to Sound of Barra: Between Gighay and Na Stacan Dubha. The south-east going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs.. Tidal flows are weaker in the southern part of the Sound.

Sound of Hellisay: Caolas Healasaigh: The east south-east going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The west north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Ullapool.

Sound of Stack: Caolas an Stac. The east going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 5 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Ullapool.

East of Eriskay: The north north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The south south-west going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs.

Bridge in Eriskay Causeway: The tide flows swiftly here. It is possible to portage over the causeway as an alternative.

Sound of Fiaray: An Caolas Fiarach, between Fiaraigh and Barra. The east going stream begins at 5 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool.

North of Fuday: The tide flows south-east and north-west. The flow reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs. The south east going stream causes overfalls.

North west entrance to the Sound of Barra: Known as the 'Washington Channel'. The south-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The north-west going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. Overfalls form off the north east corner of Fuday during the south east-going stream.

West side of South Uist: The north going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The south going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs. The flow is much less away from headlands.

Rubha na h-Ordiag: The north going stream begins at 5 hours and 10 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The south going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs. Less flow away from silent points. The Stream runs at 2 knots at the point, decreasing to 0.5 knots off Calbhaigh.

Eddy behind Rubha Mealabhaig: An eddy forms behind Rubha Mealabhaig on the north east-going stream, extending to Rubha na h-Ordaig and almost a mile offshore. As a result, the streams run constantly south west in this area.

Loch Baghasdail: The east going stream begins at 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 5 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Ullapool. Streams are barely perceptible.

Loch Aineort entrance: The east going stream begins at 35 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 5 hours and 45 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The streams are weak in the outer part of the Loch, except at Struthan Beag.

Struthan Beag (Loch Aineort): The south-east going stream begins at 10 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The north-west going stream begins at 6 hours and 5 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 6 knots at springs. Overfalls. Eddies at each end. In the upper loch, the flows are weak.

Off Loch Aineort: The north north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 40 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The south south-west going stream begins at 20 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs. Less flow in bays between silent points.

Loch Sgiopoirt: The east going stream begins at 35 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 5 hours and 45 minutes after high water at Ullapool. Streams weak except in narrow channels.

Notes

Firing Range: South Uist firing range runs from south of Rubha Aird a Mhuile to Rubha Aird na Machrach. Red flags and lights are shown. Call 01870 604441 or 01870 604535.

Access/Egress

Bagh Bhatarsaigh: (NL 632 952) g Small parking area, 200 m carry to the beach.

Vatersay Causeway: (NL 637 975) g There are slipways both sides of the causeway at the southern end. Parking should be straightforward.

Castlebay: (NL 666 981) g There is a small slip to the east of the main ferry pier, with parking.

Aird Mhor: (NF 721 038) g Ferry slip. Good parking nearby. It may be advisable to check the ferry times.

Eoligarry: (NF 715 076) g Slipway, possible to park nearby.

Eriskay Ferry Terminal: (NF 784 103) g Parking available. Take care to keep clear of the ferry - it is worth checking the timetable.

Haun: (NF 789 121) g Jetty. Parking likely possible nearby.

Pol a Charra: (NF 746 144) g Parking near the pub and rough beach.

Lochboisdale: (NF 793 193) g Launch on slip to south of main pier, large layby for parking.

Suggested trips

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