Scalpay, Outer Hebrides
|OS grid reference||NG214965|
|Gaelic name||Sgalpaigh na Hearadh/Sgalpaigh|
|Meaning of name||Ship Island|
|Area and summit|
|Area||653 ha (2.5 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||Beinn Scorabhaig 104 m (341 ft)|
|Population rank||26 out of 101|
|Main settlement||An Acarsaid a Tuath (North Harbour)|
|Island group||Lewis and Harris|
|Local Authority||Comhairle nan Eilean Siar|
Area and population ranks are for all Scottish islands and all inhabited Scottish islands respectively. Population data is from 2001 census.
Scalpay is around 2.5 miles (4 km) long and rises to a height of 341 ft (104 m) at Beinn Scorabhaig. The area of Scalpay is 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2). 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 a 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.
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.
In 2001, the island had a population of 322 people, whose main employment is fish farming and prawn fishing. Scalpay is home to many Gaelic singers and psalm presenters and is well known for its use in Gaidhlig. Scalpay used to have over 10 shops over 30 years ago but due to lack of people and work, the last shop closed in 2007. There also used to be a salmon factory which was a major local employer from 2001 until closure in 2005. In the spring of 2009, local newspapers reported that the factory is to reopen as a net washing facility to support the local fish farming industry. In 2012, the Scalpay community bought and opened a community shop/cafe, 'Buth Scalpaigh'. Well known for its friendly and welcoming people, the islanders hospitable qualities make their community shop a pleasure to visit.
In 2011 the island's owner, Fred Taylor, announced that he proposed handing over the land to the local population. Two ideas were suggested: one where the island is owned by a local development trust, and another where it forms part of the larger North Harris Trust, itself community owned. Islanders voted to accept the gift and assume community ownership of the island. They will go into partnership with the North Harris Community Trust to run the island.
- 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
- Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.
- Ordnance Survey. 1:50,000 (Map). http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/.
- "Pàrlamaid na h-Alba placenames" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-07-21.
- "Scalpay Bridge". Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Retrieved 23 Jan 2012.
- "Scalpay community shop opening". Stornoway Gazette. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Islanders offered home as a ‘free gift’ from London owner"". Senscot, quoting the Press and Journal. 18 Feb 2011. Retrieved 11 Mar 2011.
- "Scalpay islanders vote in favour of takeover". BBC News. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2013.