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Ordnance gazetteer of Scotland > Volume 6

(288) Page 466 - UIG

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(288) Page 466 - UIG
a continuous assemblage of low hills and fiat moors. Its
seaboard is, for the most part, low, has a sandy soil,
and contains nearly all the cultivated land. The soil
of the interior is first thin, light, and mixed with a
little clay, and, farther back, almost wholly moss ; yet
it is largely capable of improvement, and with the aid
of sea-weed for manure, produces forced crops. The pro-
portion which arable grounds and good pasture bear to
the moors is little, if any, more than as 1 to 20. Not-
withstanding the remoteness of its situation, the parish
has been strongly affected by the change of proprietor-
ship and the new system of improvement noticed in our
article on Lewis ; but, all the same, it has figured
prominently in the recent crofter agitation. Uig is
in the presbytery of Lewis and the synod of Glenelg ;
the living is worth £195. The parish church was built
in 1829, and contains 1000 sittings. There are two
Free churches — the one of Uig, the other of Carloway ;
and seven public schools of recent erection, with total
accommodation for 696 children, had (1884) an average
attendance of 424, and grants amounting to £367, 9s.
Valuation (1860) £2741, (1885) £5324, 17s. Pop. (1801)
2086, (1841) 3316, (1861) 2878, (1871) 3143, (1881)
3489, of whom 3398 were Gaelic-speaking. — Or A. Sur.,
shs. 104, 105, 98, 99, 1858.
Uig, a village in Snizort parish, Isle of Skye, Inverness-
shire, at the head of Uig Bay, 14 miles NNW of Portree,
under which it has a post office, with money order,
savings' bank, and telegraph departments. Here also
are a steamboat pier and a good hotel. Great damage
was done to the place by the ' big flood ' of Oct. 1877.
Triangular Uig Bay measures 1 mile across the entrance,
and 14 mile thence to its inmost recess.
Uist, North, an island and parish of the Outer
Hebrides, Inverness-shire. The island is bounded on
the W and NW by the Atlantic Ocean, on the NE by
the Sound of Harris, on the E by the Little Minch, on
the S, separating it from Benbecula, by a narrow, com-
plicated, shallow strait, densely packed with isles and
islets, and parti}' fordable between low water and half
tide. Its greatest length, from E by N to W by S, is
18 miles ; its greatest breadth, in the opposite direction,
is 13f miles ; its breadth, over great part, does not
average more than 6J miles ; and its land area appears
to be considerably less than 80 square miles. The
entire eastern half is a labyrinth of land and water cut
into innumerable peninsulas and islands of every
imaginable form, partly by the ramifications of Lochs
Evort and Maddy, inlets of the sea, and partly by the
existence of ragged and many armed fresh-water lakes ;
and, looked at from almost every vantage ground, it
seems to defy description or exploration, so intricate
and broken is the outline. The whole of the territory
thus cut into fragments is a dreary, fiat, marshy moor-
land — 'a brown, peaty, and boggy tract,' says Dr Mac-
culloch, ' so interspersed with lakes and rocks as to be
nearly impassable, and producing a scanty and wretched
herbage for a few animals during the driest months of
summer, while in the winter it is resigned to wild
geese, ducks, and swans, who divide its waste and
watery region with the sea-gulls which the ocean can
no longer protect or feed.' Yet the tract is not all so
low as its general character would seem to indicate ;
but presents, in a frequently broken belt of 1\ miles
mean breadth along the coast, a range of hills, which
gradually rise from the N to the S, reaching at one
point, Ben Eval, to an altitude of 1133 feet. The western
portion of the island is, comparatively speaking, con-
tinuous land ; and sends up, in lines from SE to NW,
three distinct groups or ranges of heights. One of these
ranges bounds the Sound of Harris ; and, though
lifting its chief summits of Ben Breach and Ben More
to nearly 1000 feet of altitude, is of tame appearance.
The second range extends almost from end to end of the
district along very nearly its middle, and sends up its
principal eminence, Ben Croghan, to a height of 1500
leet. The third range is a prolonged and irregular
group of much less elevation than the others, of a
smooth and undulating surface, and with declivities
which fall off in gentle slopes to the SW. A belt of
uneven low land between this last group and the sea is
exceedingly beautiful in summer and autumn, produces
luxuriant crops of oats and barley, and forms both the
chief and the most profitable area of arable ground in
the island. Its soil is naturally a mixture of clay and
peat, and, jointly by culture and by the admixture of
drift sand from the coast, it has become a rich and fertile
mould. All its seaboard, with the exception of a few
bold rocky headlands, consists chiefly of various
pulverised shells, which are wafted over all the tract by
the powerful western winds, and fertilise it with all the
power of rich lime manure. Yet beautiful and pro-
ductive as this district generally is, it often in winter
suffers such denudation of its more tender and valuable
grasses, by the action of rain, frost, and storms, that
the cattle which feed upon it can find no sustenance,
and must be sustained by the stores of the corn-yards
or left to perish. A curious cave called Sloch-a-choire
is at Tighary Point near the parish church, and 3 miles
distant at Scolpeg is a larger, but less curious one.
There are numerous rude monuments and ruins, probably
of Scandinavian origin, to which various traditions are
attached. Gneiss forms the great bulk of the island ;
argillaceous schist is the chief constituent of the range
of heights on the eastern shore ; and trap occurs, among
the same heights, in numerous veins. The chief useful
mineral, apart from the building material of the rocks,
is a species of bog-iron accompanied by pyrites which,
with the assistance of tormentil, galium, lichens, and
other native plants, is employed by the natives for
dyeing. The sea-lochs and bays abound with marine
fish ; and the fresh-water lakes contain plenty of trout,
and are frequented by flocks of wild geese, ducks, and
swans. The inhabitants have shared very largely in
the miseries so common throughout the Hebrides and
the Highland shores of the mainland, resulting from
bad husbandry, defective harvests, precariousness of the
fisheries, and destruction of the kelp trade. Hence
North and South Uist have figured prominently in the
Crofter agitation of 1884-85.
The parish comprehends the island of North Uist, a
number of inhabited islands lying adjacent to North
Uist or near it, and a great many neighbouring isles and
islets, some of them covered with verdure and suitable
for pasture, others bare rocks, valuable only for the seals
which frequent them. The principal islands, additional
to North Uist itself, are Kirkebost, Illeray, Baleshare,
Grimisay, Vallay, and Orinsay, all connected with the
island of North Uist by dry sands at low water ; Rona,
less than 1 mile to the SE ; Boreray, about 2 miles to
the N ; and Heisker, about 10 miles to the W. It
contains the post office stations of Lochmaddy and
Carinish. It is in the presbytery of Uist and synod of
Glenelg ; the living is worth £185. The parish church
was built in 1764, and contains 400 sittings. There are
a quoad sacra parish church at Trumisgarry, an Estab-
lished mission church at Carinish, and Free churches at
Paible and Carinish. Twelve board schools, all of recent
erection, with total accommodation for 655 scholars, had
(1884) an average attendance of 350, and grants amount-
ing to £366, 4s. 3d. Valuation (1860) £4135, (1884)
£5483. Pop. of island (1841) 3788, (1861) 3034, (1871)
3222, (1881) 3371 ; of parish (1801) 3010, (1831) 4603,
(1861) 3959, (1871) 4107, (1881) 4264, of whom 4134
were Gaelic-speaking, and 3383 were in North Uist
ecclesiastical parish.
Uist, South, an island and a parish of the Outer
Hebrides, Inverness-shire. The island is bounded on
the N by a strait which separates it from Benbecula,
and is shallow, packed with rocks and flat islets, sur-
passingly intricate, and nearly dry in one part at low
water ; on the E by the Little Minch ; on the S by a
sound from 5 to 7J miles broad, which separates it from
Barra, contains several considerable isles, and is inter-
spersed with sunk rocks ; and on the W by the Atlantic
Ocean. Its greatest length, from N to S, is 22 miles ;
its greatest breadth is 7J miles ; and its area, including
interior and intersecting waters, is about 110 square

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