9617: Shiant Islands

Three main islands make up the Shiants. Garbh Eilean is the largest, and connects to Eilean an Tighe by a narrow rocky beach. Eilean Mhuire lies to the east. High basalt cliffs rise to 150m and the islands are a significant breeding ground for seabirds.

The wealth of archaeological remains, from prehistoric through bronze-age, mediaeval and modern, indicate many millennia of inhabitation. Full details of the archaeological surveys are on the Shiant Isles homepage, along with information on the geology and natural history of the islands.

The Shiants have a long tradition of monastic inhabitation (there is a chapel to St Mary on Eilean Mhuire) and were also inhabited by shepherds in the 19th century when the group formed part of the Lemreway Tack, and later of the Park sheepfarm.

In the 1830s the resident shepherd was Donald Munro of Harris, with his family. From about 1870 to 1901, Donald Campbell and family lived there. Various other seasonal visitors would have stayed in the bothies and sheilings, including lobster fishers.


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