Starvation Point, Isle of Ulva


Created by Ulva Primary School

Starvation Point, or Aird Glass is an abandoned settlement on Ulva. Listen to stories of the real inhabitants, as imagined by the pupils at Ulva Primary School. Starvation Point is on the coast of Ulva and you have to cross some rough ground without a foot path to reach it.

Here is what the pupils say about the tour:

'We hope you like our tour of Aird Glass, known as Starvation Point. These are some of the sad tales of the crofters who were cleared off their land by the factors and landowners in the 1840s and 1850s.

'Aird Glass was the place where the people had to go if they were too old or ill to go to work in the cities or sail to North America to begin a new life. Aird Glass was always a last resort because life there was so miserably desolate. Most of the people who went to Aird Glass starved because it was too boggy to grow crops. That's why its known as Starvation Point.

'The names of the crofters in the stories are the actual names of the people who lived at Aird Glass. We hope that by listening to these stories, and by looking at the pictures you will understand what life was like on Ulva in the 1800s.'

Practical information

The walk to Aird Glass and back will take approximately three to four hours.

Starvation Point is on the coast of Ulva and you have to cross rough ground without a foot path to reach it. To get there, follow the footpath signs to the South Side. After about two miles you will see a sheep fank (or enclosure) on your left and then a gate across the track. Follow the line of the fence leading towards the shore (you may find the higher ground less boggy). You will see the ruins of the settlement in front of you near the shore line.

The route covers some rough and uneven ground, so is not suitable for younger children.

Copyright and permissions

All historic maps have been reproduced by permission of the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland.

The photography for this tour was by photographer Andrea Sayers along with Ulva Primary School pupils. Historic images on the tour were reproduced by permission of Scran. See tour for full details of copyright holders.

Ulva Primary school would also like to thank the following for their assistance in developing the tour:

  • Sgriob Ruaih farm for the milking and crowdie making
  • Anne Cleave for the bread making
  • Ivarr Ingram for the peat cutting
  • The Howard Family of Ulva
  • Donald Munro, the Ulva ferryman.

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Contact us

If you would like more information about Great Escapes, please email learning@nls.uk.

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Black and white photo of a bowl with yeast in it
Rising bread.

Black and white photo of sea view
Fish trap at Aird Glass, Isle
of Ulva.

Black and white photo of a wicker basket
Basket for peat cut for a fire.