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Wiay


(Fuidhaigh, Fuidheigh)

An uninhabited island lying off the southeast coast of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. Wiay (Gael: Fuidhaigh or Fuidheigh) is separated from Benbecula by Loch a' Laip and South Uist lies 3 miles (5 km) to the southwest. Rocky and barren, Wiay has an area of 392 ha (970 acres) and rises to 102m (335 feet) at Beinn a' Tuath. A cave, known as Prince Charlie's Rest, is said to have hidden Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720-88) for a few days during his escape in 1746. The island had six inhabitants in 1861 but has been deserted since 1942. The island became famous in August 1980 when Hercules, a 2.4-m (8-foot) Grizzly bear who was filming a toilet paper commercial for television, escaped from his handler and swam off. He was eventually recaptured in North Uist after 3 weeks on the run. The story is now commemorated at Langass Woodland on North Uist. In recent years the island has provided grazing for sheep and been used for sporting purposes such as woodcock shooting, red deer stalking and trout fishing in one of several small lochs. Sea and Golden Eagles nest on the island.


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