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Scalpay, Inner Hebrides facts for kids

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Gaelic name Sgalpaigh (an t-Sratha)
Norse name Skalprøy
Meaning of name ship island
OS grid reference NG605315
Coordinates 57°19′N 5°59′W / 57.31°N 5.98°W / 57.31; -5.98
Physical geography
Island group Skye
Area 2,483 ha (9 58 sq mi)
Area rank 32 
Highest elevation Mullach na Càrn, 396 m (1,299 ft)
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Highland
Population 4
Population density 0.16/km2 (0.41/sq mi)

Scalpay ( Scottish Gaelic: Sgalpaigh) is an inhabited island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland which has a population of 4.


Separated from the east coast of Skye by Loch na Cairidh, Scalpay rises to 396 metres (1,299 ft) at Mullach na Càrn. It has an area of just under 25 square kilometres (9.7 sq mi). The island had a population of ten usual residents in 2001 and of four in 2011.

Scalpay is privately owned and operates a red deer farm, shooting estate and holiday cottages. Much of Scalpay is covered with heather, while other areas are conifer forestry plantations.


Mac an Tàilleir (2003) suggests the name derives from "ship island" from the Norse. However, Haswell-Smith states that the Old Norse name was Skalprøy, meaning "scallop island".


Scalpay, Inner Hebrides
Looking south to Skye from Scalpay.

Dean Monro gave the following description of Scalpay in 1549:

...a fair hunting forest, full of deer, with certain little woods and small towns, well inhabited and manured, with many strong coves, good for fishing, in heritage it pertains to Maclean of Duart.

By the time of Dr Johnson's tour, the island was held by a tenant of Sir Alexander Macdonald.

Shipping magnate and politician, Donald Currie owned the island in the late 19th century and was responsible for the construction of the first roads and much tree planting.

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