Uig (Scottish Gaelic: Ùig), also known as Sgìr' Ùig, is a civil parish and community on the western coast of the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. 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'.
Uig is a civil parish and 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.
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.
Bhaltos (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 Cliobh (Cliff), Cnìp (Kneep), Riof (Reef) and Na h-Ùigean (Uigen), has been owned by the community and managed by the Bhaltos Community Trust.
Uig Beach (Scottish Gaelic: Camas Ùig) is best known as the site where the Lewis Chessmen (Scottish Gaelic: Tàileasg Ùig) 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, England, and replicas in the Uig Heritage Centre in Tuimisgearraidh. 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.
The beach is one of Scotland's leading kite-buggy locations, being large, flat, and frequently subject to suitable winds.
Uig is the ancestral seat of the Clan MacAulay (Mac Amhlaigh) who are of Norse descent (Olavsson). The most famous clan chief was Donald Cam MacAulay and his ancestors have included the anti slavery campaigner Thomas Babington MacAulay and also Lord 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.
A well preserved wheelhouse at Cnìp, and two nearby brochs, make the area important archaeologically. In 1979 a rich female Viking burial was discovered on Kneep headland. 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 is the only working distillery in the Western Isles. The distillery released the first single malt Scotch whisky to leave the island for over 170 years on 14 October 2011.
- "Bhaltos Community Trust Ltd – Uigean". Retrieved 4 February 2011. Text "Firstport Business Directory" ignored (help)
- "The Lewis Chesssmen". The British Museum. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- "Fly a white kite". VisitScotland. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "The Viking Princess and the Seeing Stone". www.ceuig.com. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- "A Viking burial from Kneep, Uig, Isle of Lewis" (PDF). Proc SocAntiq Scot 111 (1987): 149–174. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
- "Abhainn Dearg Scotch Whisky". whiskymerchants.co.uk. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "Blog Abhainn Dearg Distillery First Release". 2011-10-18.