West Linga appears to have been inhabited intermittently until the late 18th century. The lack of an anchorage and somewhat brackish water have hindered settlement.
Some acreage on "Liungøuo í Hwalsøyo" is recorded in 1485 for sale for 10 marks, as part of an illegal land sale, at Korskirken near Bergen in Norway.
Hugh MacDiarmid who lived on nearby Whalsay, said in The Uncanny Scot that he had spent three days on the island, living in a cave, with lots of matches and two books. In fact it transpired that he'd been there only for a few hours. One of MacDiarmid's best known poems was On a Raised Beach.