A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Scalpay, an island of Strath parish, Skye, Inverness-shire, separated from the E coast of Skye by Scalpay Sound or Loch na Cairidh, which, at two points, is less than ½ mile broad. It lies off the mouth of Loch Ainort, and is 7 furlongs SSE of Raasay, 9½ miles SSW of Applecross, and 7½ W by N of Kyleakin. It is of an irregularly oval shape of 4¼ by 3 miles; and has the longer axis from NW to SE. Most of its area is occupied by a grassy mountain (994 feet) of uneven summit and rounded outline, displaying much bare rock, yet nowhere marked by asperities or wearing a barren aspect. The descent, in most places, but especially along the side towards Skye, comes down in smooth and gentle declivities to the sea; but, towards the NE, it terminates in bold though not very high cliffs. The Sound of Scalpay is a noted rendezvous of the herring fleet; and it abounds in oysters, some of which, both fish and shell, are black, while others are of a dingy blue colour. These oysters are supposed to be only a variety of the common species, and to derive their unwonted hue from the dark mud in which they breed. On the island are vestiges of an ancient chapel dedicated to St Francis. Pop. (1841) 90, (1861) 70, (1871) 48, (1881) 37.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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