West Linga

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West Linga


The Bight of Cudda, West Linga, towards the Head of Berg
Location: 60°21’36"N, 1°2’5"W
Grid reference: HU533651
Area: 309 acres
Highest point: 171 feet
Population: 0

West Linga is an uninhabited island located between Mainland and Whalsay in Shetland.

It is a long narrow island covered in rough heath, hence its name; this is one of several islands of Shetland named "Linga", which leans "heather island".

West Linga is separated from Whalsay by Linga Sound, and Lunning on Mainland, Shetland to the west. Little Linga, Swarta Skerry, Lona Skerry and Ketill Holm lie to the west. The Calf of Linga to the south is a drying islet. Wether Holm is separated by a channel 10 feet deep at the north end.[1]

There are two lochs, and a natural arch in the north west. The two main hills are at either end - North and South Ward. A cairn stands in the south.[2]

The rock is coarse micaceous, and hornblendic gneiss with granite veins. There is a raised beach above Croo Wick at the southern extremity.[1]

Croo Wick, West Linga


West Linga appears to have been inhabited intermittently until the late 18th century. The lack of an anchorage and somewhat brackish water have hindered settlement.[1]

Some acreage on "Liungøuo í Hwalsøyo" is recorded in 1485 for sale for 10 marks, as part of an illegal land sale, at Korskirken near Bergen in Norway.[3]

Hugh MacDiarmid who lived on nearby Whalsay, said in The Uncanny Scot that he had spent three days on the island, living in a cave, with lots of matches and two books. In fact it transpired that he'd been there only for a few hours.[1] Interestingly, one of MacDiarmid's best known poems was On a Raised Beach.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 1841954543. 
  2. "Overview of West Linga". Gazetteer for Scotland. http://www.scottish-places.info/features/featurefirst1886.html. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  3. Schei, Liv - The Shetland Story
Islands of Shetland

Inhabited islands:
Mainland  •
Bressay  • Burra (East & West)  • Fair Isle  • Fetlar  • Foula  • Muckle Roe  • Out Skerries  • Papa Stour  • Trondra  • Unst  • Vaila  • Whalsay  • Yell

Other islands:
Balta  •
Bigga  • Brother Isle  • Colsay  • Hascosay  • Hildasay  • Lamba  • Linga, Muckle Roe  • Linga, Yell  • Mousa  • Muckle Flugga  • Noss  • Oxna  • Papa  • Papa Little  • Samphrey  • South Havra  • Uyea, Northmavine  • Uyea, Unst  • Vementry  • West Linga