Scalpay is also noted as the home of a family of renowned soldiers. Two sons of Norman Macdonald became Generals, fighting Napoleon at Waterloo & a grandson was known as “ the heaven born soldier”.
Several hundred years ago the island had a population of two to three hundred inhabitants with evidence of settlements clearly visible.
Old Viking Village on the Isle of Scalpay
The present population is now only four but the very special, happy & friendly atmosphere on the island remains.
The original Celtic inhabitants, were converted to Christianity by St. Columba (6th cent.) In a burial ground, which is still occasionally used, are the fragmentary remains of Teampull Fraing, or Frangaig.
Along with all the islands, the Norwegians (starting in the 8th cent.) conquered Scalpay. A Viking settlement to the northern shores makes for an interesting excursion.
Dr Johnson proposed in 1773 to buy the island and establish a school and Episcopal chapel:‘and a printing press where we should print all the Erse that could be found’!