Portal:Scottish islands

  (Redirected from Portal:Scottish Islands)

The Scottish Islands Portal
Welcome! — Fàilte! — Walcome!


Relief map of Scotland, showing some of the numerous offshore islands

Scotland has over 900 offshore islands, most of which are to be found in four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, and the Hebrides, sub-divided into the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides. There are also clusters of islands in the Firth of Clyde, Firth of Forth, and Solway Firth, and numerous small islands within the many bodies of fresh water in Scotland including Loch Lomond and Loch Maree. The largest island is Lewis and Harris which extends to 2,179 square kilometres, and there are a further 200 islands which are greater than 40 hectares in area. Of the remainder, several such as Staffa and the Flannan Isles are well known despite their small size. Some 94 Scottish islands are permanently inhabited, of which 89 are offshore islands. Between 2001 and 2011 Scottish island populations as a whole grew by 4% to 103,702.

The geology and geomorphology of the islands is varied. Some, such as Skye and Mull are mountainous, while others like Tiree and Sanday are relatively low lying. Many have bedrock made from ancient Archaean Lewisian Gneiss which was formed 3 billion years ago; Shapinsay and other Orkney islands are formed from Old Red Sandstone, which is 400 million years old; and others such as Rùm from more recent Tertiary volcanoes. Many of the islands are swept by strong tides, and the Corryvreckan tide race between Scarba and Jura is one of the largest whirlpools in the world. Other strong tides are to be found in the Pentland Firth between mainland Scotland and Orkney, and another example is the "Grey Dog" between Scarba and Lunga. (More on Scottish islands...)

Selected picture

Selected island group

The islands within the Firth of Clyde

The Islands of the Firth of Clyde are the fifth largest of the major Scottish island groups after the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland. They are situated in the Firth of Clyde between Ayrshire and Argyll and Bute. There are about forty islands and skerries, of which only four are inhabited and only nine larger than 40 hectares (99 acres). The largest and most populous are Arran and Bute, and Great Cumbrae and Holy Island are also served by dedicated ferry routes. Unlike the four larger Scottish archipelagos, none of the isles in this group are connected to one another or to the mainland by bridges.

The geology and geomorphology of the area is complex and the islands and the surrounding sea lochs each have distinctive features. The influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Atlantic Drift create a mild, damp oceanic climate.

The larger islands have been continuously inhabited since Neolithic times, were influenced by the emergence of the kingdom of Dál Riata from 500 AD and then absorbed into the emerging Kingdom of Alba under Kenneth MacAlpin. They experienced Viking incursions during the Early Middle Ages and then became part of the Kingdom of Scotland in the 13th century. There is a diversity of wildlife, including three species of rare endemic tree. (Full article...)

News

MV Glen Sannox in September
MV Glen Sannox in September

Selected fauna

An Eriskay pony on Eriskay

The Eriskay Pony (Scottish Gaelic: Each Beag nan Eilean or Each Èirisgeach) is a breed of pony from Scotland. It is generally grey in colour, and has a dense, waterproof coat that protects it in harsh weather. The breed developed in ancient times in the Hebrides of Scotland, and a small population remained pure and protected from crossbreeding by the remoteness of the islands. It is used for light draught work, as a mount for children, in many equestrian disciplines, and for driving. The breed is rare today, with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust considering their status critical. There are two breed registries for the Eriskay Pony: Comann Each nan Eilean - The Eriskay Pony Society, which was formed in 1972 and has the Prince of Wales as society patron, and The Eriskay Pony Society was formed in 1986. Both societies are recognised as holding a studbook of origin for the breed. (Full article...)

Selected history & culture article

Vanguard, 1910

HMS Vanguard was one of three St Vincent-class dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She spent her career assigned to the Home and Grand Fleets. Aside from participating in the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 and the inconclusive Action of 19 August several months later, her service during World War I mostly consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.

Shortly before midnight on 9 July 1917 at Scapa Flow, Vanguard suffered a series of magazine explosions. She sank almost instantly, killing 843 of the 845 men aboard. The wreck was heavily salvaged after the war, but was eventually protected as a war grave in 1984. It was designated as a controlled site under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986, and diving on the wreck is generally forbidden. (Full article...)

Selected island

The Isle of Arran (/ˈærən/; Scots: Isle o Arran; Scottish Gaelic: Eilean Arainn) or simply Arran is an island off the west coast of Scotland. It is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde and the seventh largest Scottish island, at 432 square kilometres (167 sq mi). Historically part of Buteshire, it is in the unitary council area of North Ayrshire. In the 2011 census it had a resident population of 4,629. Though culturally and physically similar to the Hebrides, it is separated from them by the Kintyre peninsula. Often referred to as "Scotland in Miniature", the island is divided into highland and lowland areas by the Highland Boundary Fault and has been described as a "geologist's paradise".

Arran has been continuously inhabited since the early Neolithic period. Numerous prehistoric remains have been found. From the 6th century onwards, Goidelic-speaking peoples from Ireland colonised it and it became a centre of religious activity. In the troubled Viking Age, Arran became the property of the Norwegian crown, until formally absorbed by the kingdom of Scotland in the 13th century. The 19th-century "clearances" led to significant depopulation and the end of the Gaelic language and way of life. The economy and population have recovered in recent years, the main industry being tourism. There is a diversity of wildlife, including three species of tree endemic to the area.

The island includes miles of coastal pathways, numerous hills and mountains, forested areas, rivers, small lochs and beaches. Its main beaches are at Brodick, Whiting Bay, Kildonan, Sannox and Blackwaterfoot. (Full article...)

Did you know?

Ruins of Cill Chriosd

Selected portrait

Selected geography article

The Old Man of Hoy from the north

The Old Man of Hoy is a 449-foot (137-metre) sea stack on Hoy, part of the Orkney archipelago off the north coast of Scotland. Formed from Old Red Sandstone, it is one of the tallest stacks in the United Kingdom. The Old Man is popular with climbers, and was first climbed in 1966. Created by the erosion of a cliff through hydraulic action some time after 1750, the stack is no more than a few hundred years old, but may soon collapse into the sea. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Childe in the 1930s

Vere Gordon Childe (14 April 1892 – 19 October 1957) was an Australian archaeologist who specialised in the study of European prehistory. He spent most of his life in the United Kingdom, working as an academic for the University of Edinburgh and then the Institute of Archaeology, London. He wrote twenty-six books during his career. Initially an early proponent of culture-historical archaeology, he later became the first exponent of Marxist archaeology in the Western world.

Born in Sydney to a middle-class English migrant family, Childe studied classics at the University of Sydney before moving to England to study classical archaeology at the University of Oxford. There, he embraced the socialist movement and campaigned against the First World War, viewing it as a conflict waged by competing imperialists to the detriment of Europe's working class. Returning to Australia in 1917, he was prevented from working in academia because of his socialist activism. Instead, he worked for the Labor Party as the private secretary of the politician John Storey. Growing critical of Labor, he wrote an analysis of their policies and joined the far-left labour organisation Industrial Workers of the World. Emigrating to London in 1921, he became librarian of the Royal Anthropological Institute and journeyed across Europe to pursue his research into the continent's prehistory, publishing his findings in academic papers and books. In doing so, he introduced the continental European concept of an archaeological culture—the idea that a recurring assemblage of artefacts demarcates a distinct cultural group—to the British archaeological community.

From 1927 to 1946 he worked as the Abercromby Professor of Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, and then from 1947 to 1957 as the director of the Institute of Archaeology, London. During this period he oversaw the excavation of archaeological sites in Scotland and Northern Ireland, focusing on the society of Neolithic Orkney by excavating the settlement of Skara Brae and the chambered tombs of Maeshowe and Quoyness. In these decades he published prolifically, producing excavation reports, journal articles, and books. With Stuart Piggott and Grahame Clark he co-founded The Prehistoric Society in 1934, becoming its first president. Remaining a committed socialist, he embraced Marxism, and—rejecting culture-historical approaches—used Marxist ideas such as historical materialism as an interpretative framework for archaeological data. He became a sympathiser with the Soviet Union and visited the country on several occasions, although he grew sceptical of Soviet foreign policy following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. His beliefs resulted in him being legally barred from entering the United States, despite receiving repeated invitations to lecture there. Upon retirement, he returned to Australia's Blue Mountains, where he committed suicide.

One of the best-known and most widely cited archaeologists of the twentieth century, Childe became known as the "great synthesizer" for his work integrating regional research with a broader picture of Near Eastern and European prehistory. He was also renowned for his emphasis on the role of revolutionary technological and economic developments in human society, such as the Neolithic Revolution and the Urban Revolution, reflecting the influence of Marxist ideas concerning societal development. Although many of his interpretations have since been discredited, he remains widely respected among archaeologists. (Full article...)

Selected panorama

Topics

Things you can do

Wikiproject

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wikivoyage 
Travel guides

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database