Marriage proposal etched into runway sand for man’s sky-high proposal

Stephen McCann thanked the staff for creating the ‘really special moment’ as he proposed to girlfriend Bridget Byrne.

A man took his marriage proposal sky-high by having it written in the sand on a beach runway to surprise his girlfriend as they flew in.

Stephen McCann wanted to be especially romantic when proposing to his girlfriend, Bridget Byrne, so he recruited the help of staff from Barra airport in the Outer Hebrides.

The staff etched “Bridget will you marry me?” into the sand at Barra beach in letters so large they could be seen from the air.

The message was so big the couple could see it from their Loganair flight as they approached the island, on a trip Ms Byrne had planned as a 50th birthday present for Mr McCann.

Stephen McCann proposing to his girlfriend Bridget Byrne at Barra Airport (Stephen McCann/ Big Partnership/PA)

Barra airport has the world’s only commercial tidal beach runway.

Mr McCann, a fitness instructor and photographer from Torrance, East Dunbartonshire, made full use of it to make the surprise proposal last week.

Ms Byrne, 42, owner of Cafe Alba in Milngavie, said “yes” to the delight of her fellow passengers and a relieved Mr McCann.

The couple met at a fitness class in Bishopbriggs in 2020 and have spent the last three years travelling together.

Newly engaged Stephen McCann and Bridget Byrne (Stephen McCann/Big Partnership/PA)

Mr McCann recalled the “really special moment”.

He said: “When I first had the idea of a beach proposal, I didn’t think it would be possible but after reaching out to the Loganair and Barra Airport team, they were so accommodating.

“Ultimately, we were relying on mother nature as a high tide could easily wash away the writing in the sand.

“I was seriously stressed, but literally just before take-off, I got confirmation the message was in place, pilots were briefed, and it was all systems go.

“From then, it couldn’t have gone any better. Bridget got the surprise of her life looking out the window, so much so she nearly forgot to say ‘yes’.

“Thankfully she did, and everyone cheered then when we landed, I was able to go down on one knee and complete the proposal.”

Loganair captain Daniel Tye, left, and first officer James Whitby, right, with Stephen McCann and Bridget Byrne (Stephen McCann/Big Partnership/PA)

Mr McCann said the surprise was “beyond anything we could have hoped for” and thanked Loganair, Barra Airport and the staff who made the special proposal possible.

He added: “It’s something we will both never forget.”

Daniel Tye, a captain for Loganair, said: “It’s always special to land at Barra, but it was extra special to overfly the beach so that Bridget could see the proposal written in the sand.

“I was able to see the happy couple from the cockpit and it was wonderful to see her reaction as she saw the message.

“It’s a joy to operate on this route and was a privilege to play a small part in their special day.”

Barra Airport’s fire service watch manager, Hector MacPhee, said: “The team at the airport were delighted to assist Stephen in asking this very special question.

“We arranged the message in the sand and kept in touch with Loganair’s team throughout the morning, helping to facilitate a fly over the beach so the message could be seen clearly.”

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