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Barra, Scotland


Last modified: 2018-08-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: barra |
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[Flag of Barra] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

See also:

Description of the flag

I received the following message from Scott Hatton:

The Barra flag, more obviously a Nordic cross, is in green and white probably reflecting the Catholic heritage as well.

Chris Pinette, 23 March 1998

From the Aberdeen Press and Journal:

Barra residents could launch a campaign to secure official recognition for the island’s flag in the coming weeks. Community leaders and Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan have proposed a petition to the Court of the Lord Lyon to secure the special status for the first time. The move gained widespread support from islanders after being discussed at a recent meeting in Barra.

The green and white Scandinavian-style flag has long been used to represent the island, but does not yet have legal recognition. The Court of the Lord Lyon, the legal authority on heraldry in Scotland, has the power to authorise community flags and ensure that only one group can use the design.

Mr Allan said: “It is great to see the local community in Barra showing interest in this idea. “Ultimately, it’s up to the people of Barra themselves what they want to do next. The feeling at the initial meeting that I hosted earlier this month was that recognition of the flag would help boost the island’s marketing efforts as well as celebrate its unique identity. There is already widespread use of Barra’s flag, which can be seen flying from fishing boats, on local produce and on car stickers. I look forward to seeing how people in Barra want to take this forward, and hope it will lead to a formal petition being made to the Lord Lyon. I believe Barra’s flag can help boost the area’s identity and economy.”

Phillip Tibbetts, community vexillologist at the Flag Institute, said: “It was an honour to visit Barra and talk about the benefits and process of recording a flag officially with the Lyon Court. I was very pleased the idea was received so positively and look forward to supporting further progress. I can’t wait to be back – and no doubt see an officially registered Barra flag flying.”
David Phillips, 4 January 2017

It was reported yesterday that the unofficial flag of the island of Barra, which has been used for some years past, has now been officially recognised by the Lord Lyon. The flag, as you will know, is a white Scandinavian cross on a green background. The press reports quote a representative of the Flag Institute.
Kenneth Fraser, 24 November 2017

Further details are are at
The distinctive green-and-white Nordic cross has been widely used on the island for decades, but until now has had no legal recognition. Having been championed locally, the project gained significance after Eilidh MacLeod, 14, of the island, was killed in the Ariana Grande concert blast. The announcement comes six months after the attack that left 22 dead.
The flag was draped over Eilidh’s coffin when her body was repatriated to the island for her funeral. - The National

See also - BBC News, 23 November 2017 - The Scotsman, 23 November 2017
Ivan Sache, 24 November 2017

Several variations have been noted for this flag:

Web-safe variant
[Flag of Barra] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

British County Flags variants

Green color made Web-safe, cross completely symmetrical version of the image originally created by Sam MacNeil. This image is intended to represent the pre-standardization variant of the flag.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

[Flag of Barra] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

At the British County Flags blog: several other unofficial variants are presented which were used before the design standardization. In the second photo from the top: a flag is shown with wider cross (about 1/4 of the flag width).
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

[Flag of Barra] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

In the third photo at, two flags, more oblong than the others (ratio about 1:2), are seen. The first of those has a narrow cross, much like the official version.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

[Flag of Barra] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

The second photograph not only has a wider cross (about 1/4 of the flag width), but also the rectangular hoist cantons - not square as in all previously described variants.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

[Flag of Barra] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

In the fourth photo: a less oblong flag is shown (ratio about 2:3), with a lighter shade of green and the cross width between the two which were seen in the other described flags.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

[Flag of Barra] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

The fifth photo: displays a flag with ratio of about 3:5, wide cross (about 1/4 of the flag width), rectangular hoist cantons and a dark shade of green, although a bit lighter and somewhat more "yellowish" than the standardized one.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 March 2018

The Barra and South Uist flags originated on the Virtual Hebrides website which existed between 1994-2001. As the then largest rural community website, we had a rather active forum of many people then with a modem. The various flags were discussed there and, from information on the forum, I drew them up with Paint Shop Pro one afternoon since nobody else had a graphics program

I add this since there is a lot of “this flag is of mysterious origin” floating around about Barra and South Uist. I could probably
date them to mid 1997. I can certainly show them in use during 2004 but seems to have deleted most of the images of when they were in use there during 1999-2001.

After the Virtual Hebrides went bust some of the pages had a brief life at before 2005 or so.
Scott Hatton, 4 March 2019