Great Bernera


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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Bernera, Large and Little, two islands of Uig parish, Outer Hebrides, Ross-shire, in Loch Roag, on the W of Lewis, 23 miles W of Stornoway. Large Bernera measures 55/8 miles from NW to SE, and from 1¼ to 3¼ miles from E to W; has a jagged outline, with alternations of bays and headlands; and is surrounded by an archipelago of islets. Inland the surface, sown with over 30 lochs, nowhere exceeds 223 feet above sea-level. A remarkable assemblage of ancient standing stones, rivalling those of Callernish, crowns the brow of one of its promontories, and looks in the distance like a cemetery of thickly clustered tombstones. The allignment of it resembles that of a Roman cross, with a circle at the intersection; and is computed to have originally measured about 680 feet along the main line, over 204 along the transverse line, and 189 round the periphery of the circle. Thirty-six stones are still standing in some or other of its several parts; but numerous others lie prostrate in positions showing them to have been formerly erect, while a good many more are presumed to have been destroyed; and all those still on ground are, more or less, of a megalithic character. Another stone circle now incomplete, and still another with a double oval row, are in the neighbourhood of the great cruciform assemblage; but they consist of much smaller stones. Pop. of Large Bernera (1861) 453, (1871)539, (1881) 563. Little Bernera is a mere islet (1¼ x ¾ mile) lying to the NW of Large Bernera.—Ord. Sur., shs. 104, 105, 1858.

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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