Barra was treated to the unusual sight of an RAF Puma helicopter on Borve machair on Friday (17 April) as her crew carried out a familiarisation visit as part of emergency response training.

The Puma is one of three stationed at RAF Kinloss as part of the Covid support force working with NHS Scotland.

The helicopter spent an hour at Stornoway airport on Friday morning with emergency crews getting guided introductions to the aircraft and to landing and loading protocols, before overflying the Western Isles to check out landing sites at key locations.

The RAF crew were guided in to land at Borve machair, the established landing site for helicopter evacuations, by members of Barra Coastguard Rescue Team.

They were joined by ambulance crew members and other medical staff for a briefing on the Covid-19 medical evacuation process.

The Puma is the longest-serving helicopter type in operation with the RAF today. Normally stationed at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, the three Kinloss-based craft have been kitted out with epipods suitable for transport of people with Covid-19 en route to mainland hospitals.

Pictures show the Puma at Borve machair on Friday (John Macdougall).