From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Scottish Gaelic nameGriomasaigh
Old Norse nameGrímsey
Meaning of nameON: Grim's Island
Grimsay is located in Outer Hebrides
Grimsay shown within the Outer Hebrides
OS grid referenceNF855572
Coordinates57°29′N 7°14′W / 57.49°N 7.24°W / 57.49; -7.24
Physical geography
Island groupUist and Barra
Area833 ha (3 14 sq mi)
Area rank58 [1]
Highest elevation22 m (72 ft)
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Council areaOuter Hebrides
Population rank36 [1]
Population density20/km2 (52/sq mi)[2][3]
Largest settlementBàgh Mòr and Ceallan
References[3][4] [5]

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 5-mile (8-kilometre) 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]

See also[edit]


  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). "Appendix 2: Population and households on Scotland's Inhabited Islands" (PDF). Statistical Bulletin: 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland Release 1C (Part Two) (PDF) (Report). SG/2013/126. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  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