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Isle of Taransay, Harris

Isle of Taransay, Harris

Taransay is an island 3km to the west of Harris, extending to approximately 6km by 5km; the highest point is Beinn Ra at 267m.

The name is Norse and means "Taran's isle". Taran is supposed to be the Irish St Ternan, to whom one of the two chapels on the island was dedicated. It was destroyed by coastal erosion in the 1970s but traces remain of the other chapel, St Keith's. According to tradition, men were buried in St Keith's and women in St Taran's.

There were three villages on the island: Raa, Uidh and Paible. Taransay was populated from early Christian times and suffered the Massacre of Taransay in 1544 at the hands of the Morrisons from Ness; the massacre was subsequently avenged by the people of Berneray.

The island supported a pre-crofting community but the decline began in 1835, with the increase in rents, and the inhabitants began leaving the island. In 1974 the Macrae family was the last to leave and the Taransay remained uninhabited, used only for sheep.

In 2000 the BBC tv series Castaway gave Taransay a few weeks in the spotlight. Subsequently the 'pods' used by the castaways have been let to holiday-makers.

Satellite Image


Title: Isle of Taransay, Harris
Record Type: Locations
Gaelic Name: Eilean Tarasaigh
Type: Island
Grid Ref Easting: 102713
Grid Ref Northing: 900650
Record Maintained By: HC
Subject Id: 41550