Township, Scarp, Isle of Harris, Western Isles

Colour photograph, 2005
Survey by RCAHMS

The remains of this crofting township are on the island of Scarp, off the west coast of Harris. In 1881 the settlement had a population of 213, but this dwindled during the twentieth century, and the last permanent residents left in 1971. The island was the location for unsuccessful experiments in 1934 to deliver mail across the sound from Harris by rocket.

At the centre of the settlement the nineteenth century schoolhouse is prominent in its square enclosure. Close by there are the remains of a chapel and burial ground, and all around there are ruined clusters of thick-walled blackhouses.  There was a mission house which was in use until 1971.  This has recently been re-roofed for use as a bothy by visitors to the island. In the peaty land at the bottom of the photograph can be seen lazy beds – spade dug ridges on which potatoes and other crops were grown.