|OS grid reference||HU213462|
|Area and summit|
|Area||327 hectares (1.26 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||95 metres (312 ft)|
|Population rank||86= out of 101|
|Local Authority||Shetland Islands|
Area and population ranks are for all Scottish islands and all inhabited Scottish islands respectively. Population data is from 2001 census.
Vaila (Old Norse: "Valey") is an island in Shetland, Scotland, lying south of the Westland peninsula of the Shetland Mainland. It has an area of 327 hectares (1.26 sq mi), and is 95 metres (312 ft) at its highest point.
In 1490, the Ciske family's estates were divided and Vaila and Foula became the property of Alv Knutsson. However, the Ciskes were Norwegian, and as Scotland had annexed Shetland a few decades before, there were confusing and conflicting claims of ownership.
In the 17th century Martin Martin recorded an unusual folk tale:
The inhabitants of the isle Vaila say that no cat will live in it, and if any cat be brought to it, they will rather venture to sea, than stay in the isle. They say that a cat was seen upon the isle about fifty years ago; but how it came there was unknown. They observed about the same time, how the proprietor was in great torment, and as they supposed by witchcraft, of which they say he then died. There is no account that any cat has been seen in the isle ever since that gentleman’s death except when they were carried to it, for making the above-mentioned experiment.
In 1837, Arthur Anderson (the co-founder of P&O), chose the island as the base for his Shetland Fishery Company. This helped end landlords' dominance of the Shetland fishing industry. The journalist John Sands lived on Vaila for a while during the late nineteenth century.
Vaila Hall, was built in the 1890s, by Herbert Anderton, a Yorkshire mill owner. It is considered to be one of the finest mansions in all of Shetland. It incorporates an older laird's house, built by James Mitchell in 1696. Stone and Labour were brought in from England, and ornamentation from even further away: for example, it is thought that the stone griffins may come from Germany.
The Anderstons owned the island until 1993.
Geography and geology 
The geology consists of fine dark grey sandstone of the type found in nearby Walls, which was formed 400 million years ago, and subjected to glacial processes. There is some Sandsting granite in the south east by Gaada Stacks.
There are five burns, and four ponds on the island, meaning that it is fairly well watered.
There are several caves in the south and west, and natural arches on the east and west coasts.
To the north west is Wester Sound, and Easter Sound to the East. Vaila Sound is to the north, and contains one of the many Shetland islands called Linga.
See also 
- 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland.
- Ordnance Survey
- Anderson, Joseph (Ed.) (1893) Orkneyinga Saga. Translated by Jón A. Hjaltalin & Gilbert Goudie. Edinburgh. James Thin and Mercat Press (1990 reprint). ISBN 0-901824-25-9
- Haswell-Smith, Hamish. (2004) The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh. Canongate.
- Overview of Vaila
- Martin, Martin (1703) "A Description of The Western Islands of Scotland Appin Historical Society. Retrieved 3 March 2007.
- Keay, J. & Keay, J. (1994) Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland. London. HarperCollins.
- Fleming, Andrew (2005) St Kilda and the Wider World: Tales of an iconic island. Macclesfield. Windgather Press. Page 159.