Vatersay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Vatersay
Vatersay Bay
Vatersay Bay
Location
Vatersay is located in Outer Hebrides
Vatersay
Vatersay
Vatersay shown within the Outer Hebrides
OS grid reference NL635955
Names
Gaelic name About this sound Bhatarsaigh 
Meaning of name Water island
Area and summit
Area 960 hectares (3.7 sq mi)
Area rank 51[1]
Highest elevation Theiseabhal Mòr 190 metres (623 ft)
Population
Population 90[2]
Population rank 45=[1]
Pop. density 9.4 people/km2[2][3]
Main settlement Baile Bhatarsaigh
Groupings
Island group Uist and Barra
Local Authority Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Flag of Scotland.svg Lymphad3.svg
References [3][4][5]

Vatersay (Scottish Gaelic: Bhatarsaigh, pronounced [vaʰt̪əɾs̪aj]) is an inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Vatersay is also the name of the only village on the island.

Location[edit]

The westernmost permanently inhabited place in Scotland, Vatersay is linked to Barra by a causeway completed in 1991.[6] At low tide, the island is also linked to the islet of Uineasan to the east.

Wildlife[edit]

Wildlife on the island includes otters, seals and herons. Bonnie Prince Charlie's flower (Calystegia soldanella), reputedly originating from French seeds dropped by Bonnie Prince Charlie is, in Scotland, found only on Vatersay and Eriskay.

Archaeology[edit]

The island has remains of an Iron Age broch at Dun a' Chaolais overlooking the Sound of Vatersay and nearby is a passage grave dated to the 3rd millennium BC.[7] There is also a Bronze Age cemetery at Treasabhaig south of the heights of Theiseabhal Mòr[8] and a cairn built circa 1000 BC west of the village of Vatersay.[9] The offshore islet of Biruaslum has a walled fort that may be of Neolithic provenance.[10]

Wrecks[edit]

Monument to the wreck of the Annie Jane

One of the saddest events to befall the island happened when the Annie Jane, a three-masted immigrant ship out of Liverpool bound for Montreal, Canada, struck rocks off West Beach during a storm in September 1853. Within ten minutes the ship began to founder and break up casting 450 people into the raging sea. In spite of the conditions, islanders tried to rescue the passengers and crew.[11]

There were only a few survivors rescued. A small cairn and monument marks the site where the bodies recovered from the sea were buried. The inscription reads: "On 28th September 1853 the ship Annie Jane with emigrants from Liverpool to Quebec was totally wrecked in this bay and threefourths of the crew and passengers numbering about 350 men women and children were drowned and their bodies interred here."

Two Chinese seamen from the SS Idomeneus, which sank on 28 September 1917, are also buried somewhere near the monument. There is a commemorative headstone in Cuier Churchyard.[12]

The remains of a Catalina flying boat that crashed on the slopes of Heishival Beg in 1948 lie in a stream bed near the shore.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Area and population ranks: there are c. 300 islands >20ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
  2. ^ a b National Records of Scotland (15 August 2013) (pdf) Statistical Bulletin: 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland - Release 1C (Part Two). "Appendix 2: Population and households on Scotland’s inhabited islands". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7. 
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey. Get-a-map (Map). 1:25,000. Leisure. http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/getamap/. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  5. ^ Mac an Tàilleir, Iain (2003) Ainmean-àite/Placenames. (pdf) Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Undiscovered Vatersay". Isle of Barra. Retrieved 2008-11-06. [dead link]
  7. ^ Branigan (2007) p. 65
  8. ^ Branigan (2007) p. 66
  9. ^ Branigan (2007) p. 68
  10. ^ Branigan (2007) p. 67
  11. ^ "Annie Jane Memorial - the story". Isle of Vatersay. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  12. ^ CWGC Dept of Honour
  13. ^ "Consolidated Catalina: Vatersay, Heishival Beg". Canmore. Retrieved 13 Nov 2011.

References[edit]

  • Branigan, Keith (2007) Ancient Barra: exploring the Archaeology of the Outer Hebrides. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°55′41″N 7°32′01″W / 56.92805°N 7.53357°W / 56.92805; -7.53357