Thursday, 14 July 2011

Closed Signs

This photograph of the former post office, shop and telephone kiosk on Scarp serves as a reminder that it's 40 years since the last permanent residents left that island. Yesterday I received a request to list those Scottish islands that had been 'evacuated'. This is a strong word that puts emphasis on emergencies, casualties as well as forced mass migrations. Permanent settlement on many small islands just fizzles out because it becomes unsustainable or domestically difficult for key or last families. Sometimes an innovation - an automatic system to operate a lighthouse, for example - makes human involvement unnecessary. However, I did some research,  considering the past 200 years and islands larger than 40 acres, and came up with a total of 35, from North Rona in 1844 until Ailsa Craig in 1990.

Scottish Islands Explorer - open for business


Anonymous said...

There is scope here for more research plus an article in the magazine - for some people say that the number of islands once permanently settled, but no longer supporting an all-year-round population, is as high as 70. That's looking at the past 200 years, not the previous 100 generations.

rclubley said...

Great photo of Scarp - very poignant. I would be fascinated to read your list of desertions. Any chance of seeing it on the blog or in the mag?

Scottish Islands Explorer said...

We will have a 'trailer' or a 'tickler' here, Richard, and try to list the 35 in the next issue of the magazine.