Dunard Hostel

Explore the secret and surprising places of this gorgeous island

This place is a treat! Dunard Hostel is on the island of Barra is the Outer Hebrides. Its is on the waterfront at Castlebay, a town that does precisely what it says on the tin. There is a bay, surrounded by a scattering of white and pastel buildings, all rugged and weather-ready. Little boats bob in the sheltered waters and are sometimes dwarfed by the ferry pulling in to the terminal. Also there’s a castle. Way out in the bay, on a rocky island. Castlebay. In the distance are mountains, beautiful, craggy, ridged and inviting to the intrepid explorer. 

The hostel too, is everything you would hope for in an island base. Visitors who have posted on online report a warm, friendly, family-run hostel. It has a lovely cosy living room with a wide bay window which pleasingly, looks over the bay; a fine fire, hot showers and spacious kitchen. There are a range of room sizes from the more affordable bunk rooms to family rooms. 

I can’t describe the island better than the local hostel owners who supplied wonderful, poetic and enticing images of their home – and it is to their honour that they are encouraging people to share it, “a handful of shops, and bars which often fill with live music. During the summer the island is alive for ‘Feis Bharraidh’ a gaelic festival of music, song and dance. Take time and explore this truly beautiful island with stunning white beaches, quiet bays where otters hunt and seals bask on rocks, dunes and meadows carpeted in flowers, and wild windswept hills home to golden eagles.”

The town and the hostel are seaward-looking. You can even, if you’re tempted to explore the coast, rent kayaks and canoes from the hostel to paddle round the secret and surprising places of this gorgeous island.