Being crofting townships, Barvas and Brue have a strong agricultural heritage though overall the croftland it is not so productively worked as it was by previous generations - with one or two exceptions. Cattle and sheep breeding and rearing are still the main livestock systems. A relatively new introduction is the use of poly-tunnel technology to grow vegetables and some fruit, with a few individuals venturing into small scale commercial production.
Cattle on Barvas Glebe
Brue cattle walking to the local Show – July 2005
Barvas Cattle on Tòl Park – July 2006
Big bale silage making on Barvas Glebe – August 2005
Hebridean Sheep, Brue
Blackface ewes with lambs - Brue
Highland Cattle at the West Side Agricultural Show – July 2004
Mini bale silage making at Brue – July 2006
The exposed and rugged coastline of Barvas and Brue make for extremely limited sea fishing options to the extent that today, no fishing boats operate from this coastline. However, despite these real dangers, Barvas and Brue men did operate sailing and rowing boats from these shores up until the early 1900s. However, the dangers of an exposed coastline with no safe harbour or anchorage were then matched by sea knowledge, boat skills and strength that are lost on later generations.
Croic Bay, Barvas, on a lovely Summer’s day
The Brue shore with the Atlantic rolling in!
Sea cliffs and stacks at Molerap, Brue
Croic pool in full flood
Despite having little sea fishing options, apart from rock fishing, the area is very well known for its fresh water fishing. Fishing records confirm that Loch Mòr Bharabhais and tributary lochs and river systems were highly rated for trout and salmon fishing as well as the surrounding moors for wildfowl and game.
A modern fish hatchery operates on Gleann Eirearagh to the west of the A858 where the river exits from Loch Urraghagh, between Brue and Arnol. Owned by a multi-national, fish-farming company, it provides a number of local jobs.
Barvas Estate employs a full-time gamekeeper plus some seasonal water bailiff work. In addition, Barvas Lodge (known locally as The Inn) employs an innkeeper to look after the property and associated sporting clients. The Inn is located at the crossroads where the A858 branches from the A857 at ‘The Corners’ in Lower Barvas.
Barvas Lodge, known locally as ‘The Inn’
Fish hatchery on Gleann Eirearagh
Glen Mòr entering Loch Mòr Bharabhais
Salmon fishing at Cròic Pool
In 1924 the former “Capital Sporting Estate of Barvas” of the Right Honourable William Hesketh Viscount Leverhulme of the Western Isles, extending to an area of about 34,247 acres was sold to Barvas Estate Limited.
Fish caught in years preceding the Estate sale on the Arnol and Barvas rivers were as follows:
The three boats and sporting equipment belonging to the Proprietor were included in the sale.
Shooting: In pre-war days 200 brace of Grouse and from 150 to 300 Snipe used to be shot on the Estate, besides a large number of Woodcock, Golden Plover and Wildfowl. The sale notice stated that the Bags for the last 4 years were: