Parish of Uig

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Uig
1834-45: Uig

Uig, a Hebridean parish of Ross-shire, whose church stands near the W coast of Lewis, 34 miles W by S of the post-town, Stornoway. The parish comprehends the Flannan Isles, the islands of Bernera, Mealista, and Paba, with some smaller islands, but consists mainly of the district of Uig proper and part of the district of Carloway or Callernish on the mainland of Lewis. The district of Uig-proper is bounded N by the ocean and Carloway, E by Stornoway, SE by Lochs, S by Harris and Loch Resart, and W by the ocean. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 22½ miles; its utmost breadth is 17¼ miles; and its area is 2111/2 square miles or 135,71·113 acres, of which 10,107·312 are water and 2568·965 foreshore. The north-western division of Uig proper is cut into a labyrinth of islands and peninsulas by the numerous and intricate ramifications of Loch Roag. A large and comparatively little indented peninsula between that sea-loch and Loch Resart forms the south-western division, and sends out two prominent headlands, the most westerly ground in the island. Between these promontories, the more northerly of which bears the name of Gallon Head, and which are 3 miles asunder, occurs the Bay of Uig, the most important bay in the parish. This bay penetrates the interior to the extent of 3¼ miles, and has a mean breadth of about 1 mile; and while quite exposed, over 2 miles of its extent, to the tremendous westerly gales and surges of the Atlantic, it afterwards suddenly contracts, and then shoots out into a series of sheltered creeks. Freshwater lakes are very numerous in most parts of the interior, and reflect from their surface the brown, bleak features of dismal moors. The only noticeable one is Loch Langabhat (8½ miles x 7 furlongs), chiefly on the boundary with the aptly-named conterminous parish of Lochs. The lakes, excepting this one, rarely attain 6 miles in circumference; they abound with small trout; and, owing to the moorishness of the grounds which their feeders drain, their water has a brownish colour. There are four rivulets in which a few salmon are caught. The seas and bays on the coast abound with cod, ling, dog-fish, coal-fish, and most kinds of shellfish, and are frequented by English vessels for supplies of lobsters. Mealasbhal (1750 feet) is the highest of several hills that exceed 1500 feet above sea-level; but the parish generally, though loftier, as a whole, than any other in Lewis, exhibits, throughout the interior, a continuous assemblage of low hills and flat moors. Its seaboard is, for the most part, low, has a sandy soil, and contains nearly all the cultivated land. The soil of the interior is first thin, light, and mixed with a little clay, and, farther back, almost wholly moss; yet it is largely capable of improvement, and with the aid of sea-weed for manure, produces forced crops. The proportion which arable grounds and good pasture bear to the moors is little, if any, more than as 1 to 20. Notwithstanding the remoteness of its situation, the parish has been strongly affected by the change of proprietorship and the new system of improvement noticed in our article on Lewis; but, all the same, it has figured prominently in the recent crofter agitation. Uig is in the presbytery of Lewis and the synod of Glenelg; the living is worth £195. The parish church was built in 1829, and contains 1000 sittings. There are two Free churches-the one of Uig, the other of Carloway; and seven public schools of recent erection, with total accommodation for 696 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 424, and grants amounting to £367, 9s. Valuation (1860) £2741, (1885) £5324, 17s. Pop. (1801) 2086, (1841) 3316, (1861) 2878, (1871) 3143, (1881) 3489, of whom 3398 were Gaelic-speaking.—Ord. Sur., shs. 104, 105, 98, 99, 1858.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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