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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Muck, an Argyllshire island in the parish of Small Isles and the district of Mull, 3 miles NNW of the nearest point of the mainland, and 2 7/8 SSW of Eigg. Its length, from ENE to WSW, is 2 ¾ miles; its maximum breadth is 2 miles; and its area is 1586 acres. The surface is undulating throughout, and only one solitary decided hill, near the W end, shoots up from the general level, attaining the height of 600 feet. The shores are in general low and rocky, but at the W end they rise into cliffs of 50 or 60 feet in height. There are several more or less convenient landing-places for fishing-boats, and two small piers, but there is no safe harbour. The body of the island is trap of the predominant varieties of basalt and fine greenstone, but at the bay of Camusmore the protrusion of beds of sandstone and limestone indicates the presence of a lower stratum of secondary rocks. The soil of Muck is fertile when under tillage, and bears a rich crop of grass. The supply of spring-water is ample. But the chief natural want of the island is fuel, peat having to be procured with labour and expense from the neighbouring islands or the mainland. The main industry of the inhabitants is fishing.

Muck was for a long period the property of the Abbey of Iona, and its present name is said toe a corruption of Monk-island. Its Gaelic form is Eilean-nan-Muchd, signifying the ' island of the swine,' and this has been given by Buchanan in the literal translation 'insula porcornm.' An islet called Horse island lies on the N side of Muck, separated from it only by a foul rocky narrow channel, which is left dry at low water in neap tides. Pop. of Muck (1831) 155, (1861) 58, (l871) 53, (1881) 51, of whom 22 were females, and 41 Gaelic-speaking.

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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