Picture yourself on a twenty-seater propeller plane that takes off from Glasgow and lands an hour later directly on the beach at Barra, the southernmost island of the Western Isles, also known as the Outer Hebrides.

There is no official airstrip, nor are there even any lights on the sand, and the flight times shift to fit in with the tide tables, because at high tide the runway is submerged.

Even if Barra were a dreary destination, the flight would be worth taking simply for the views it gives of Scotland’s beautiful west coast and the islands of Mull, Skye, Rum and Eigg. It’s a rare flight on which the person who demonstrates the safety procedures then turns around, gets into the cockpit and flies the plane.

The Western Isles is also the only part of Britain – and one of only a few in the world – where you can experience a truly stunning landscape in solitude; a hundred-mile-long archipelago consisting of a million exquisitely beautiful acres with a population of nine people per square kilometre.

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