Discover Scalpay

Welcome to Wonderful Scalpay - as good as life used to be!

The Island of Scalpay, Harris (Scalpaigh na Hearadh) - as distinct from Scalpay, Skye - part of the Western Isles, is situated in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Approximately 2.5 square miles with its highest point 104 metres at Beinn Scorabhaig - an accessible walk, with splendid panoramic views from Lewis to Uist and Wester Ross.

The Hebrides were settled early in the settlement of Britain, and over the years Scalpay evolved into a significant fishing and crofting community with a unique identity, emphasised by its island status. Scalpay Gaelic, as a consequence, is recognised by academic authorities as the purest spoken Gaelic, even in this heartland of the Gaelic culture. Scalpay was connected to Kyles Scalpay on the mainland of Harris in 1997. The panoramic span bridge was  'officially' opened by then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in 1998.  Scalpay still, however, retains its distinct identity but with the advantage of easy access to the delights of Harris and the wider Western Isles.

The island has two natural harbours - the North and South harbours - which provided safe anchorage to the island's once substantial fishing fleet and continue to do so today for local boats and the many visiting yachts. Bannatyne House overlooks the South Harbour.  The island also has many small lochans. The largest of these is Loch an Duin (Loch of the Fort).  This has a small island in it, with the remains of the fort still visible. The island also enjoys an abundance of wildlife: birds, otters, seals and much more. There are also many sheep!

Along the way, Scalpay has had many visitors including Bonnie Prince Charlie who took refuge Discover Scalpay, Harris, Hebridesthere as he sought to escape King George's redcoats. After a narrow escape from visiting redcoats, he eventually escaped to France from nearby Uist.

The island was also known to generations of sailors as the Glass Isle, hence the name of the island's lighthouse - Eilean Glas - the first to be built in the Outer Hebrides. It is still accessible via a glorious walk over the moors, to the peninsula on the eastern shore.

The community Cafe and Shop 'Butha Scalpaigh' opened in May 2012. With well stocked shelves and a welcoming cafe, it also provides a gallery space for some of the local crafts people of the Island, many of whom also take part in a Fayre every second Saturday in the Tarbert Community Centre.

In common with the rest of the Western Isles, Scalpay is an adherent to the Sabbath being a day of rest. Shops, cafes and play parks are closed. The Mote Hotel bar and the Harris Hotel in Tarbert are open for business on a Sunday (15 minutes drive) for coffees and meals.