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Gaelic name Luinn
Meaning of name pre-Gaelic name of unclear meaning
View from near Toberonochy, Luing
View from near Toberonochy, Luing
Luing is located in Argyll and Bute
Luing shown within Argyll and Bute
OS grid reference NM740100
Coordinates 56°14′N 5°39′W / 56.23°N 5.65°W / 56.23; -5.65
Physical geography
Island group Slate Islands
Area 1,430 hectares (5.5 sq mi)
Area rank 40 [1]
Highest elevation 94 metres (308 ft) Beinn Furachail
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Argyll and Bute
Population 195[2]
Population rank 32= [1]
Population density 12.6 people/km2
Largest settlement Cullipool/Culapul



Luing (Gaelic: Luinn) is one of the Slate Islands, Firth of Lorn, in the west of Argyll in Scotland, about 16 miles (26 km) south of Oban. The island has an area of 1,430 hectares (5.5 sq mi) and is bounded by several small skerries and islets. It has a population of around 200 people, mostly living in Cullipool, Toberonochy (Tobar Dhonnchaidh), and Blackmillbay.[6]

Economy and culture[edit]

A regular ferry service crosses the 200 metres (660 ft) wide Cuan Sound which separates Luing from the neighbouring island of Seil, which is in turn connected by bridge to the mainland.[6]

The main industries on Luing are tourism, lobster fishing and beef farming, although slate quarrying was important until 1965,[3] with quarries at Toberonochy, Cullipool, and a smaller one at Port Mary. Slate from Luing was used in the construction of the University of Glasgow and re-roofing of Iona Abbey.

For such a small island, Luing has produced numerous mod gold medallists: Nan MacInnes (1926, in Oban), Sandy Brown (1938, in Glasgow) and Hughie MacQueen (1985, in Lochaber).

Luing cattle were first developed here, as a commercial beef breed hardy enough to prosper under adverse weather.[7] They are a breed of red beef cattle, produced by the Cadzow family in 1947 from a cross between Beef Shorthorn and Highland cattle.[8]


According to Haswell-Smith (2004) the name "Luing" may derive from the Old Norse lyng, meaning "heather" or long meaning ship.[3] However, Mac an Tàilleir (2003) states "this is probably a pre-Gaelic name of unclear meaning."[5]


Ruins of Kilchattan Church

In the early part of the Christian era Luing would have formed part of the Gaelic kingdom of Dalriada. From the 9th to 13th centuries almost all of the Hebrides came under the control of Norse settlers and formed part of the Kingdom of the Isles. However, when Edgar of Scotland signed a treaty with Magnus Barefoot in 1098, formally acknowledged the existing situation by giving up Scottish claims to the Hebrides and Kintyre, Luing and Lismore were retained by the Scots.[9]

The graveyard at the ruined church of Kilchattan documents the lives of past islanders, with quarriers, sailors and crofters side by side. Gravestones of note include those of Covenanter Alexander Campbell.[10]


  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. ^ 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 (2004) p. 70
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 55 Lochgilphead & Loch Awe (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2011. ISBN 9780319231227. 
  5. ^ a b Mac an Tàilleir (2003) p. 83
  6. ^ a b "Luing". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 28 July 2007. 
  7. ^ "Luing Cattle". Luing Cattle Society. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  8. ^ "Overview of Luing". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  9. ^ Sellar (2000) p. 191
  10. ^ "Luing: Heritage". Isle of Luing Website. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 


Coordinates: 56°13′45″N 5°38′44″W / 56.22917°N 5.64556°W / 56.22917; -5.64556