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Scarp

An uninhabited island lying off the west coast of North Harris in the Western Isles. Its highest point is Sron Romul at 308m (1010 feet) and the island has an area of 1045 ha (2582 acres). Occupied by eight families in 1810, the population of Scarp grew when people displaced from Harris settled here in 1823. Once supporting a population over 200 through crofting and fishing, the island was often inaccessible due to bad weather and strong tides, which prevented boats landing. In 1934 it became the scene of a famous attempt to improve communications. German scientist Gerhard Zucker tested his rocket-mail system on the island, but the experiment failed due to his inability to obtain the correct fuel. Examples of singed envelopes from the exploded rocket can be seen at Museum nan Eilean.

Rapid depopulation from 46 (1961) to 12 (1971) brought the decline of the island, with Scarp's only school closing in 1967, the post office two years later and the last two families leaving on the 2nd December, 1971.


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