Sunday, 9 March 2014

Plenty to See

Hildasay to the west of the southern part of Shetland mainland is only 267 acres in extent, but has plenty to see. Its name derives from the Norse 'battle island' when it was allegedly used for single combats by Vikings who did not wish to have the possible interference by spectators. The high-quality stone was quarried and exported, some apparently to be included in the construction of some public buildings in Australia. A railway, its route still evident, linked the quarry (below)

with the jetty (below) and was worked, together with a herring curing station, until the end of the 19th Century. The population, in fact, declined rapidly from 30 residents, in five houses, in 1891 to none by 1901. However, nearby inhabitants continued to come to cut the sought-after peat and to enjoy the social occasions that these outings provided.

Features of the west side include the West Loch, with its one isle, and the cliffs giving protection from the prevailing winds.

The island was used in the Second World War for training in preparation for the Norwegian exercises as well as a meeting place for refugees escaping from occupied lands.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to a full article on the island

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