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Hellisay

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Hellisay
Location
Hellisay is located in Scotland
Hellisay
Hellisay shown within Scotland
OS grid reference NF756040
Names
Gaelic name Theiliseigh
Meaning of name Old Norse: island of the caves
Area and summit
Area 142 hectares (0.55 sq mi)
Area rank 128=
Highest elevation Meall Meadhonach 79 metres (259 ft)
Population
Population 0
Groupings
Island group Uists and Barra
Local Authority Na h-Eileanan Siar
Lymphad3.svg
If shown, area and population ranks are for all Scottish islands and all inhabited Scottish islands respectively. Population data is from 2001 census.

Hellisay (Gaelic: Theiliseigh) is an island in the southern Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

Contents

Geography and geology

Hellisay.jpg

Hellisay lies between Barra and Eriskay. One of a string of islands between South Uist and Barra, Hellisay is "locked" into its neighbour Gighay, with a harbour between.

It is mainly gneiss with quartz veins.[2]

There are several peaks on the island - such as on the peninsula of Charish, and also Beinn a' Chàrnain (mountain of the small cairn; 73 metres (240 ft)), Meall Meadhonach (Middle rounded hill; 79 metres (259 ft)), and Meall Mòr (next to Meall Meadhonach; 75 metres (246 ft)) and Meall an Healladh.

Wildlife

Along with the usual seabirds, raptors including falcons and golden eagles.[2] The island is covered in sea thrift.[2]

History

The island's name is Old Norse in origin. It possibly means "island of the caves", which appears to be confirmed by the name Rubha na h-Uamh (headland of the cave) in the east of the island. However, Blaeu's map has "Hildesay", which suggests that the name may derive from the Norse from "Hilda's Island".[2]

The island's settlement was at Buaile Mhòr ("Bualavore", meaning the Big Fold) near Eilean a' Ghamhna in the north west of the island. The remains of a sheep pen and a well can still be seen.

Like so many other islands in the region, Hellisay was strongly affected by the Highland Clearances. Firstly, refugees from clearances in neighbouring islands swelled the population, and latterly the island's inhabitants themselves were evicted, and many went to live on Eriskay. The population peaked at 108 in 1841, and the island was cleared in the 1840s - however it continued to have some inhabitants up until 1890.[2]

Alasdair Ailpin MacGregor's stories reveal a rich folklore and mythology extant on the island, possibly only a fraction of which has been preserved.[2]

References

  1. ^ 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Haswell-Smith, Hamish. (2004) The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh. Canongate.
  3. ^ Ordnance Survey

Coordinates: 57°01′N 7°21′W / 57.017°N 7.35°W / 57.017; -7.35

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