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For other places with the same name, see Grimsay (disambiguation).
Gaelic name Griomasaigh
Norse name Grímsey
Meaning of name ON: Grim's Island
Grimsay is located in Outer Hebrides
Grimsay shown within the Outer Hebrides
OS grid reference NF855572
Physical geography
Island group Uist and Barra
Area 833 hectares (3.22 sq mi)
Area rank 58 [1]
Highest elevation 22 metres (72 ft)
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Outer Hebrides
Population 169[2]
Population rank 36 [1]
Pop. density 20 people/km2[2][3]
Largest settlement Bàgh Mòr and Ceallan



Grimsay (Scottish Gaelic: Griomasaigh) is a tidal island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.


Grimsay is the largest of the low-lying stepping-stones which convey the Oitir Mhòr (North Ford) causeway, a five-mile arc of single track road linking North Uist and Benbecula via the western tip of Grimsay.[6] Until it opened in 1960,[7] a ferry linked Carinish (on North Uist) with Gramsdale (on Benbecula), but could only operate at high tide.[8] There was also a ford which could only be crossed close to low water, usually only with a guide.[8] For significant parts of each day the North Ford was too wet to ford and not wet enough to cross by ferry.[8] East of Grimsay lie several smaller islands including Ronay which was inhabited until 1931.[3]


The island's population was 169 as recorded by the 2011 census[2] a drop of over 15% since 2001 when there were 201 usual residents.[9] During the same period Scottish island populations as a whole grew by 4% to 103,702.[10] The main settlements are Baymore (Bàgh Mòr) and Kallin (Ceallan) at the eastern end of the island. Grimsay has a harbour at Kallin, which is the base to a sizeable shellfish industry,[6] the island's main industry, mostly for lobster, prawns and scallops. Also in Kallin is The Boatshed, a marine repair facility which promotes traditional skills, and employs a full-time boatbuilder and trainee.[11] Three generations of Stewart family built as many as 1000 boats from three sheds on Grimsay.[11] Grimsay is encircled by a single-track road that links most of the island's small croft and fishing settlements together.


There is a fine example of an Iron-Age wheelhouse on the northeast coast of the island at Bagh nam Feadag.[12] It is one of the best examples of a wheelhouse on North Uist but does not appear on Ordnance Survey maps.[13]


  1. ^ a b Area and population ranks: there are c. 300 islands over 20 ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
  2. ^ a b c 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 c Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7. 
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 22 Benbecula & South Uist (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2008. ISBN 9780319226223. 
  5. ^ Mac an Tàilleir, Iain (2003) Ainmean-àite/Placenames. (pdf) Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Overview of Grimsay". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 22 July 2007. 
  7. ^ Sullivan, Mike; Sullivan, Mike; Pickering, Timothy (2010). The Outer Hebrides: Sea Kayaking Around the Isles & St Kilda. ISBN 9781906095093. 
  8. ^ a b c "Feature Page: Grimsay". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 22 July 2007. 
  9. ^ General Register Office for Scotland (28 November 2003) Scotland's Census 2001 – Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Scotland's 2011 census: Island living on the rise". BBC News. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "The Grimsay Boatshed". Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "Grimsay Wheelhouse". Alasdair McKenzie. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  13. ^ "Grimsay Wheelhouse". Outer Hebrides Tourism Industry Association. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 

Coordinates: 57°29′31″N 7°14′39″W / 57.49194°N 7.24417°W / 57.49194; -7.24417