Shiant Islands

(Na H-Eileanan Mora, Na H-Eileanan Seunta)

A group of islands in the Minch, separated from North Harris in the Outer Hebrides by the Sound of Shiant. A geological outlier of Skye, the Shiant Islands (Gael: Na H-Eileanan Mora or Na H-Eileanan Seunta) comprise a group of three islands and several islets and skerries, together extending to 143 ha (353 acres). Garbh Eilean, the largest island, is connected to Eilean an Tighe in the south by a narrow neck of pebbles. To the east is Eilean Mhuire (Mary's Island), an elevated plateau surrounded by steep cliffs. The columnar basalt rock formations are similar to Staffa and the Giant's Causeway (Ireland), rising to heights in excess of 150m (492 feet). The islands supported a resident population until the early 20th Century, but are today are given over to sheep grazing. In 1925 they were bought by Sir Compton Mackenzie (1883 - 1972), who stayed on Eilean an Tighe during the summer. Sailors tell stories of the legendary 'Blue Men' of the Minch who are said to live between the Shiant Islands.

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