(Na Hearadh)

Forming the southern part of the 'Long Island' of Lewis-with-Harris, Harris (Gael: Na Hearadh) is itself divided into North Harris and South Harris which are separated by a narrow neck of land less than half a mile wide. Largely separated from Lewis by a broad barrier of hills which rise to 799m (2622 feet) at Clisham, Harris has contrasting east and west coasts. In the east, bare gneiss is indented by some thirty bays each of which has a township at its head. In the west, eight sandy beaches backed by machair leading onto grassy hills are divided by spurs of rock. The port of Tarbert, with its ferry link to Uig in Skye and Lochmaddy in North Uist, is the chief settlement and the island of Scalpay in East Loch Tarbert is a fishing centre.

Part of the domain of Vikings from the 9th Century, the Outer Hebrides were finally ceded to Scotland by Norway through the Treaty of Perth in 1266. Thereafter, Harris was the domain of the Macleods until it was bought by soap-magnate William Hesketh Lever (1851 - 1925) in 1919. He had purchased Lewis the year before and turned his energies to the economic and social development of the island. Amongst other projects, he spent £500,000 on developing Leverburgh as a fishing port. Notable Hearachs (natives of Harris) include the bard Mary MacLeod (c.1615 - 1705), the Very Reverend Ewan Macleod (1847 - 1928), author and BBC producer Finlay J. MacDonald (1926-87), and hotelier Donald J. Macdonald (b. 1947). The population of Harris has almost halved from 3121 in 1951 through 2493 (1961), 2175 (1971), 2137 (1981), 1866 (1991) to 1662 (2001).

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