Boreray, North Uist

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Not to be confused with Boreray, St Kilda
Gaelic: Boraraigh

Outer Hebrides

Boreray, North Uist.jpg

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Location: 57°42’46"N, 7°16’59"W
Grid reference: NF855815
Area: 490 acres
Highest point: Mullach Mòr, 184 feet
Population: 0

Boreray is an island of 490 acres with but a single croft, lying to the north of North Uist. It is amongst the Outer Hebrides, scoured by the Atlantic winds. It is to the west of the Sound of Harris (which lies between Harris and North Uist), an outlier of the isles north of North Uist which scatter into that sound.

Boreray lies just over a mile north of North Uist, and along with its neighbours it belongs to Inverness-shire.


The north of the island is hilly and dominated by Mullach Mòr. The single croft and buildings are situated in the north-east of the island. The north is largely separated from the flatter southern half by Loch Mòr (“Big Loch”) and a strip of sand dunes.


The island was occupied from prehistoric times. From the fifteenth century, it was owned by the Clan MacLean.[1] The thirteenth MacLean of Boreray left the island in around 1810, and the island was divided into twenty crofts. The population grew quickly, and 181 inhabitants were recorded in the 1841 census.[2] Through the 19th century there were over 100 people living there.

Over-cultivation and the collapse of the kelp trade brought a gradual decline in the population.[1] In 1923, the island was evacuated at the request of the islanders. One family stayed on until the 1960s, when the island was abandoned.

In 1999, the present crofter started rebuilding work and remains the island’s sole regular inhabitant.[2]


Boreray's croft buildings

The single croft forms the north-east part of the island. The grazing rights for the remainder are leased to the crofters of the nearby island of Berneray.

Outside links


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Overview of Boreray". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Boreray History -
  • Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. pp. 263. ISBN 1841954543. 
The islands of the Sound of Harris, Inverness-shire

Berneray  • Boreray  • Keallasay More  • Ensay  • Gilsay  • Groay  • Hermetray  • Killegray  • Opsay  • Pabbay  • Sgarabhaigh  • Shillay  • Stromay  • Sursay  • Tahay  •

North Uist