Friday, 22 January 2016

Be a Monach for a Day

In the late 16th Century, the population of the Monachs could, apparently, raise 20 men of military age. Then soon after the new century opened, in 1607, the five-mile stretch of sand linking these 'islands' with North Uist, was washed away by a tsunami. Some residents survived and settlement was evident for over 300 years into the 1930s, when the island lifestyles failed to appeal to a new generation and numbers suddenly dwindled.

The once-abandoned Shillay lighthouse operates again, the house (top) once occupied by Lady Grange is still evident and the old schoolhouse on Ceann Ear, the main island, remains intact, although the village is a ruin. The Old Norse name for this group is Heisker, the bright skerry. Your opportunities to visit are bright, if you move swiftly.

Some enthusiasts for islands have chartered a boat leaving Leverburgh, South Harris, for a day-trip on Thursday 5 May. There is a limited number of spaces available. Contact Alan Holmes without delay for details or for securing a place.

Scottish Islands Explorer - discover current copies while you can

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