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Vatersay


(Bhatarsaigh)

An inhabited island in the Western Isles, Vatersay (Gael: Bhatarsaigh) lies to the southwest of Barra and the north of Sandray, close to the southern tip of the archipelago. The population of the island is 72 (1991) and its highest point is Heishival Mor at 190m (623 feet). The island is divided by two bays, which are separated by a narrow isthmus. Vatersay was subject to a land-raid in 1906, occupied by crofters from Barra and Mingulay. Following their victory in a court case in Edinburgh, the Government was forced to buy the island at an inflated price from Lady Gordon Cathcart, who had owned the island since 1878, to regularise the situation. Vatersay is linked to Barra by a causeway, completed in 1991, which brought a 30% increase in the population of the island, which is recorded as 95 (1961), 77 (1971), 107 (1981), 72 (1991), 94 (2001) and 90 (2011). Like Barra, the people are predominantly of the Roman Catholic faith and is served by the modern Church of Our Lady of the Waves & St. John.


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