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Uig Community Centre - geograph.org.uk - 1525245.jpg
Uig Community Centre
Grid reference: NB022334
Location: 58°11’20"N, 7°4’1"W
Population: 1,527  (2001)
Post town: Isle of Lewis
Postcode: HS2
Dialling code: 01851
Local Government
Council: Na h-Eileanan Siar
Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Uig is a parish on the western coast of the island of Lewis in Ross-shire. It consists of scattered settlements around the bay of Camas Uig and the Bhaltos peninsula. The name derives from the Norse word Vik meaning 'a bay'. According to the 2011 Census, there are 873 Gaelic speakers (56%) in the Uig area.


The parish of Uig extends over a vast area from the Harris border in the south to Dalmore in the north. It extends from Brenish in the west to Lochganvich in the east. The district known locally in Lewis as Uig is also called West Uig and is broadly the area west of Little Loch Roag. West Uig contains 20 settlements. Uig parish contains 36 settlements.

Uig Lodge

West Uig was a district of 2,000 people around the 1841 census but the Highland clearances had set in by then and this parish suffered greatly. The villages of Capadale, Pennydonald, Balnicol, Balgreasich and Erista around where the modern scattered crofting township of Ardroil now stands were part of the many cleared to make way for sheep farming and country sports.

Uig Beach is surrounded by the villages of Crowlista, Timsgarry, Ardroil and Carnish.

Valtos is the largest village in Uig and is home to about 35 people. Since 1999 the land on the Bhaltos peninsula, comprising also the smaller villages of Cliff, Kneep, Reef and Uigen, has been owned by the community and managed by the Bhaltos Community Trust.[1]


Uig Beach is best known as the site where the Lewis Chessmen were found. Before 1831, a local crofter discovered a buried hoard of chess pieces, uncovered following a storm. The chessmen are now in the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh with an overseas exhibit in the British Museum in London and replicas in the Uig Heritage Centre in Timsgarry. They are mostly carved from walrus tusks and probably originated in Norway sometime in the 12th century, although when and how they came to be in Uig is unknown.[2]

The beach is one of Scotland's leading kite-buggy locations, being large, flat, and frequently subject to suitable winds.[3]


Uig is the ancestral seat of the Clan MacAulay who are of Norse descent (Olavsson). The most famous clan chief was Donald Cam MacAulay and his descendants have included the anti slavery campaigner Zachary Macaulay and his son Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay who wrote A History of England. A later ancestor TB MacAulay founded the Sun Life of Canada Insurance Co. According to Lewis tradition, Uig is the birthplace of Coinneach Odhar, the Brahan Seer, a Nostradamus-type figure of the 16th century.[4]


A well preserved wheelhouse at Kneep, and two nearby brochs, make the area important archaeologically. In 1979 a rich female Viking burial was discovered on Kneep headland.[5] Uig was the place of discovery of the Lewis Chessmen in 1831.


The Abhainn Dearg Distillery, which began distilling in 2009, is located at Carnish in Uig, and claims to be "the first legal distillery in the Outer Hebrides".[6][7]


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Uig)