Scalpay, Inner Hebrides

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Scalpay, Inner Hebrides.jpg
Looking south to Skye from Scalpay
Location: 57°18’36"N, 5°58’48"W
Grid reference: NG605315
Area: 6,136 acres[1]
Highest point: Mullach na Càrn, 1,299 ft
Population: 4[2]

Scalpay is an island in the Inner Hebrides, off the coast of Skye, Inverness-shire.


Separated from the east coast of Skye by Loch na Cairidh, Scalpay rises to 1,299 ft at Mullach na Càrn. It has an area of just under10 square miles The island had a population of ten usual residents in 2001[3] and of four in 2011.[2]

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.[4] However, Haswell-Smith states that the Old Norse name was Skalprøy, meaning "scallop island".[1]


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.[5]

By the time of Dr Johnson's tour, the island was held by a tenant of Sir Alexander Macdonald.[6]

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.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 153
  2. 2.0 2.1 National Records of Scotland (15 August 2013) (pdf) Statistical Bulletin: 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland - Release 1C (Part Two). "Appendix 2: Population and households on Scotland’s inhabited islands". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  3. General Register Office for Scotland (28 November 2003) Scotland's Census 2001 – Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  4. Mac an Tàilleir (2003) p. 103
  5. Monro (1549) pp. 26-27
  6. Johnson (1795) p. 246


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