Portal:Scottish Islands
Get Portal:Scottish Islands essential facts below. View Videos or join the Portal:Scottish Islands discussion. Add Portal:Scottish Islands to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Portal:Scottish Islands

The Scottish Islands Portal
Welcome! -- Fàilte! -- Walcome!


Relief map of Scotland, showing some of the numerous offshore islands

Scotland has over 790 offshore islands, most of which are to be found in four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, and the Hebrides, sub-divided into the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides. There are also clusters of islands in the Firth of Clyde, Firth of Forth, and Solway Firth, and numerous small islands within the many bodies of fresh water in Scotland including Loch Lomond and Loch Maree. The largest island is Lewis and Harris which extends to 2,179 square kilometres, and there are a further 200 islands which are greater than 40 hectares in area. Of the remainder, several such as Staffa and the Flannan Isles are well known despite their small size. Some 94 Scottish islands are permanently inhabited, of which 89 are offshore islands. Between 2001 and 2011 Scottish island populations as a whole grew by 4% to 103,702.

The geology and geomorphology of the islands is varied. Some, such as Skye and Mull are mountainous, while others like Tiree and Sanday are relatively low lying. Many have bedrock made from ancient Archaean Lewisian Gneiss which was formed 3 billion years ago; Shapinsay and other Orkney islands are formed from Old Red Sandstone, which is 400 million years old; and others such as Rùm from more recent Tertiary volcanoes. Many of the islands are swept by strong tides, and the Corryvreckan tide race between Scarba and Jura is one of the largest whirlpools in the world. Other strong tides are to be found in the Pentland Firth between mainland Scotland and Orkney, and another example is the "Grey Dog" between Scarba and Lunga. (More on Scottish islands...)

Selected landscape

Selected island group

Overview of Village Bay, St Kilda

St Kilda (Scottish Gaelic: Hiort) is an isolated archipelago situated 40 miles (64 km) west-northwest of North Uist, in the North Atlantic Ocean. It contains the westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The largest island is Hirta, whose sea cliffs are the highest in the United Kingdom. Three other islands (Dùn, Soay and Boreray) were also used for grazing and seabird hunting. The islands are administratively a part of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar local authority area.

The origin of the name St Kilda is a matter of conjecture. The islands' human heritage includes numerous unique architectural features from the historic and prehistoric periods, although the earliest written records of island life date from the Late Middle Ages. The medieval village on Hirta was rebuilt in the 19th century, but illnesses brought by increased external contacts through tourism and the upheaval of the First World War contributed to the island's evacuation in 1930. The story of St Kilda has attracted artistic interpretations, including Michael Powell's film The Edge of the World and an opera.

Permanent habitation on the islands possibly extends back at least two millennia, the population probably never exceeding 180 (and certainly no more than 100 after 1851). The entire remaining population was evacuated from Hirta, the only inhabited island, in 1930. The islands house a unique form of stone structure known as cleitean. A cleit is a stone storage hut or bothy; while many still exist, they are slowly falling into disrepair. There are known to be 1,260 cleitean on Hirta and a further 170 on the other group islands. Currently, the only year-round residents are military personnel; a variety of conservation workers, volunteers and scientists spend time there in the summer months.

The National Trust for Scotland owns the entire archipelago. It became one of Scotland's six World Heritage Sites in 1986 and is one of the few in the world to hold mixed status for both its natural and cultural qualities. Parties of volunteers work on the islands in the summer to restore the many ruined buildings that the native St Kildans left behind. They share the island with a small military base established in 1957.

News

  • 13 June: Radiocarbon dating reveals that four crannogs - artificial islands on lochs - on the Isle of Lewis date from 3640-3360 BC during the Neolithic period, rather than the Iron Age as previously believed.
  • 11 June: The Scottish and Irish governments are engaged in talks over a dispute over fishing rights around Rockall.
  • 24 May: A fire seriously damages a pub-cum-restaurant on the harbour front of Tobermory, Mull.

Selected fauna

Soay ewe

The Soay sheep is a breed of domestic sheep (Ovis aries) descended from a population of feral sheep on the 100-hectare (250-acre) island of Soay in the St Kilda Archipelago, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) from the Western Isles of Scotland. It is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds.

It remains physically similar to the wild ancestors of domestic sheep, the Mediterranean mouflon and the horned urial sheep of Central Asia. It is much smaller than modern domesticated sheep but hardier, and is extraordinarily agile, tending to take refuge amongst the cliffs when frightened. Soays may be solid black or brown, or more often blonde or dark brown with buffish-white underbelly and rump (known as lachdann in Scottish Gaelic, which is cognate to the Manx loaghtan); a few have white markings on the face.

In the early twentieth century, some Soay sheep were relocated to establish exotic flocks, such as the flock of "Park Soay" at Woburn Abbey, established by the Duke of Bedford in 1910, and selected for "primitive" characteristics. A number of Soay sheep were translocated from Soay to another of the St Kilda group, the island of Hirta by the Marquess of Bute in the 1930s, after the human population and their sheep were evacuated. The name of the island is from Old Norse Seyðoy, meaning "Island of Sheep". The breed was introduced to and live wild on Holy Isle off Arran.

Soay sheep were introduced from St. Kilda to Lundy, an island in the Bristol Channel, by Martin Coles Harman soon after he purchased the island in 1924. There is also a small population living wild in and around the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.

Selected history & culture article

Whisky Galore! is a 1949 British comedy film produced by Ealing Studios, starring Basil Radford, Bruce Seton, Joan Greenwood and Gordon Jackson. It was the directorial debut of Alexander Mackendrick; the screenplay was by Compton Mackenzie, based on his 1947 novel Whisky Galore, and Angus MacPhail. The story--based on a true event--concerns a shipwreck off a fictional Scottish island, the inhabitants of which have run out of whisky because of wartime rationing; the islanders find out the ship is carrying 50,000 cases of whisky, which they salvage, against the opposition of the local Customs and Excise men.

Whisky Galore! was filmed on the island of Barra; the weather was so poor that the production over-ran its 10-week schedule by five weeks, and the film went £20,000 over budget. The initial cut of the film was considered poor by Michael Balcon, the head of the studio, so one of Ealing's directors, Charles Crichton, added additional footage and re-edited the film prior to its release. Like others of the Ealing comedies, Whisky Galore! explores the actions of a small insular group facing and overcoming a more powerful opponent. An unspoken sense of community runs through the film, and the story reflects a time when the British Empire was weakening.

Whisky Galore! was well-received on its release. It came out in the same year as Passport to Pimlico and Kind Hearts and Coronets, leading to 1949 being remembered as one of the peak years of the Ealing comedies. In the US, where Whisky Galore! was renamed Tight Little Island, the film became the first from the studios to achieve box office success. It was followed by a sequel, Rockets Galore!. Whisky Galore! has since been adapted for the stage, and a remake was released in 2016.

Selected biography

Portrait of Gregorson Campbell in mid life

John Gregorson Campbell (1836 - 22 November 1891) was a Scottish folklorist and Free Church minister at the Tiree and Coll parishes in Argyll, Scotland. An avid collector of traditional stories, in he became Secretary to the Ossianic Society of Glasgow University in the mid-1850s. Ill health had prevented him taking up employment as a Minister when he was initially approved to preach by the Presbytery of Glasgow in 1858 and later after he was appointed to Tiree by the Duke of Argyll in 1861, parishioners objected to his manner of preaching.

Several of the anecdotes he amassed were published in magazines and, just before his death, work began on collating the first of four compendiums of the tales; three were published a few years after his death. He was fluent in several languages, including Scottish Gaelic, and transcribed the legends precisely as dictated by the narrators.

Selected island

One of Eday's beaches, with sea caves adjacent to the southern end of Calf Sound

Eday is one of the islands of Orkney, which are located to the north of the Scottish mainland. One of the North Isles, Eday is about 24 kilometres (15 mi) from the Orkney Mainland. With an area of 27 square kilometres (10 sq mi), it is the ninth largest island of the archipelago. The bedrock of the island is Old Red Sandstone, which is exposed along the sea-cliffs.

There are various well-preserved Neolithic tombs, as well as evidence of Bronze Age settlement and the remains of a Norse-era castle. During the period of Scottish rule the substantial property of Carrick House was developed at Calfsound, which became a burgh for a short period. During the British era many agricultural improvements were introduced, although there has been a substantial decline in the population since the mid-nineteenth century. In the twenty-first century the Eday Partnership has had success in promoting the island's economy. Local placenames reflect the diverse linguistic heritage and the landscapes of the island and its surrounding seas attract abundant wildlife.

Did you know?

Symbister House, Whalsay

Selected portrait

Selected human geography article

Bell Rock Lighthouse with reef just visible

The Bell Rock Lighthouse, off the coast of Angus, Scotland, is the world's oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse. It was built between 1807 and 1810 by Robert Stevenson on the Bell Rock (also known as Inchcape) in the North Sea, 11 miles (18 km) east of the Firth of Tay. Standing 35 metres (115 ft) tall, its light is visible from 35 statute miles (56 km) inland.

The masonry work on which the lighthouse rests was constructed to such a high standard that it has not been replaced or adapted in 200 years. The lamps and reflectors were replaced in 1843 and used in the lighthouse at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland, where they are currently on display. The working of the lighthouse has been automated since 1988.

The lighthouse operated in tandem with a shore station, the Bell Rock Signal Tower, built in 1813 at the mouth of Arbroath harbour. Today this building houses the Signal Tower Museum, a visitor centre detailing the history of the lighthouse.

The challenges faced in the building of the lighthouse have led to it being described as one of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World.

Selected natural feature

Sgùrr nan Gillean from Sligachan, Isle of Skye, Scotland - Diliff.jpg

The Cuillin (Scottish Gaelic: An Cuilthionn or An Cuiltheann) is a range of rocky mountains located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The main Cuillin ridge is also known as the Black Cuillin to distinguish it from the Red Cuillin (na Beanntan Dearga, known locally as Red Hills), which lie to the east of Glen Sligachan.

The peaks of the Black Cuillin are mainly composed of gabbro, a very rough igneous rock which provides a superb grip for mountaineers; and basalt, which can be very slippery when wet. The rocks forming the ridge of the Black Cuillin (and outliers such Bla Bheinn) are dark in colour, particularly in the shade, but when in sunlight the Black Cuillin can appear grey to brown in colour. The main ridge forms a narrow crest, with steep cliffs and scree slopes. The ridge is about 14 km long (measured from Gars-behinn in the south to Sgùrr nan Gillean in the northeast), and curves in an irregular semi-circle around Loch Coruisk, which lies at the heart of the range. The highest point of the Cuillin, and of the Isle of Skye, is Sgùrr Alasdair in the Black Cuillin at 992 m (3,255 ft).

The Red Cuillin are mainly composed of granite, which is paler than the gabbro (with a reddish tinge from some angles in some lights) and has weathered into more rounded hills with vegetation cover to summit level and long scree slopes on their flanks. These hills are lower and, being less rocky, have fewer scrambles or climbs. The highest point of the red hills is Glamaig (775 m), one of only two Corbetts on Skye (the other being Garbh-bheinn, part of the small group of gabbro outliers surrounding Blà Bheinn).

The scenic beauty of the Cuillin has led to it being designated a national scenic area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland. A Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) review of the special qualities of the national scenic area stated:

The mountains rise up dramatically from the sea creating formidable, enclosed sea lochs, with the absence of foothills enhancing their vast scale. Many iconic views of Scotland are centred here, whether Sgurr nan Gillean soaring above Sligachan, Loch Scavaig and the Cuillin ridge from Elgol, or Bla Bheinn above Torrin.

-- Scottish Natural Heritage

Selected panorama

Topics

Things you can do

Wikiproject

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Study Guides
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wikivoyage 
Travel guides

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Portal:Scottish_islands
 



 



 
Music Scenes