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Vallay


(Bhalaigh)

A uninhabited island of the Outer Hebrides, Vallay (Gael: Bhalaigh) is located off the northern coastline of North Uist. Covering an area of 260 ha (642 acres) and largely occupied by sand dunes, the island is 2½ miles (4 km) in length but never more than a half-mile (1 km) wide. It rises to 34m (111 feet) above sea level in the east. One of the drying islands of North Uist, Vallay can be easily accessed across the sand at low tide, either on foot or by vehicle.

With a population peaking at 59 in the mid-19th century, Vallay was deserted by the latter part of the 20th century. Today visitors can see a group of ruined buildings including the remains of Vallay House, an ominous mansion built by Erskine Beveridge (1851 - 1920), a Fife businessman and amateur archaeologist who wrote on the history and pre-history of North Uist. The island is still used for grazing and crops are grown amongst the machair.

Vallay is also known for its sea birds and archaeology, with several ancient relics including duns, chapel ruins, standing stones, a stone cross and a wheel-house. The chapels, Teampull Mhuir and Teampull Orain, date from Mediaeval times.


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