Island of Berneray (Barra Head) Becomes Sheep Free Zone as Last Residents Leave

The island of Berneray or Barra Head is a tiny island in the Outer Hebrides.  Sadly the last residents of this remote Scottish island are finally leaving the land where their ancestors have lived for generations. They are looking to start up new lives across the sea.

This week will see the start of the official removal of 40 sheep and lambs  from the  island.  These sheep have been on the island for more than a century.

Barra Head

Barra Head

The National Trust for Scotland who owns Berneray and it’s neighbouring islands has decided it was too difficult to manage a flock from this remote island and are tranferring them to a farm on Canna.

Willie Fraser, Property Manager for the trust in Kintail said ” We have things like the blue-tongue vaccination coming in so they would have to be vaccinated every year, and with it being such a remote island it’s very difficult to get there.  We are so far from the flock it is no longer viable.”

The island used to be owned by The Barra Head Isles Sheep-stock Company, a syndicate of local crofters and fishermen.  The syndicate bought this island and two others for £14,000 and kept a flock of around 500 sheep there.  However, the falling prices of sheep eventually forced them to sell the islands to The National Trust of Scotland in 2000 for £500,000.

Barra Head Lighthouse on the cliffs

Barra Head Lighthouse on the cliffs

Since the island being bought by The National Trust  of Scotland the sheep have been gradually removed.


About Amanda Moffet

I run with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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2 thoughts on “Island of Berneray (Barra Head) Becomes Sheep Free Zone as Last Residents Leave

  1. RenaRuadh

    You have gotten your Bernerays mixed up, gentlemen!

    You show the Berneray that is just north of North Uist, when the island in question is south of Barra!

    • admin

      Thank you! I’ve updated the post now. When we wrote this we hadn’t been to Bernaray, we have just spent an amazing holiday on the Uists. Bernaray in North Uist was incredibly beautiful (and populated).


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