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Scalpay
Gaelic name Sgalpaigh (na Hearadh)
Norse name Skalprøy
Meaning of name scallop island or ship Island
OS grid reference NG214965
Coordinates 57°51′54″N 06°40′39″W / 57.86500°N 6.67750°W / 57.86500; -6.67750
Physical geography
Island group Lewis and Harris
Area 653 ha (2 12 sq mi)
Area rank 66 
Highest elevation Beinn Scorabhaig 104 m (341 ft)
Administration
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Demographics
Population 291
Population density 44.5/km2 (115/sq mi)
Largest settlement Am Baile (The Village)
Lymphad3.svg

Scalpay ( Scottish Gaelic: Sgalpaigh or Sgalpaigh na Hearadh; i.e. "Scalpay of Harris" to distinguish it from Scalpay off Skye) is an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

Geography

Scalpay - Outer Hebrides
Scalpay, looking roughly west to the North Harris hills.

Scalpay is around 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) long and rises to a height of 104 metres (341 feet) at Beinn Scorabhaig. The area of Scalpay is 653 hectares (2.52 sq mi). The main settlement on the island is at the north, near the bridge, clustered around An Acairseid a Tuath (North Harbour).

The island is peppered with small lochans. The largest of these is Loch an Duin (Loch of the Fort) which has a tiny island in it, with the remains of the fort still visible. Eilean Glas, a tiny peninsula on Scalpay's eastern shore, is home to the first lighthouse to be built in the Outer Hebrides.

Scalpay's nearest neighbour, Harris, is just 300 metres (980 feet) away across the narrows of Caolas Scalpaigh. In 1997, a bridge from Harris to Scalpay was built, replacing a ferry service.

Etymology

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".

Religion

The vast majority of the locals in Scalpay are Protestants. The island is home to two Presbyterian churches, the Free Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing). Like most places in the Outer Hebrides, Sunday is a day that locals use to rest from work and attend church. Respect for the Sabbath is appreciated by the islanders and they warmly welcome all visitors to meet with them during the services.

Demographics

In 2001, the island had 322 people, whose main employment was fish farming and prawn fishing. By 2011 the population had declined by 9% to 291 whilst during the same period Scottish island populations as a whole grew by 4% to 103,702.

The vast majority of the locals in Scalpay are Protestants. The island is home to two Presbyterian churches, the Free Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

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