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Eilean nan Ron - Island of the Seals: 700 acres of heather and rock poised atop 200 ft high cliffs, one mile offshore from Skerray. Inhabited since the late 1700s, this small island group supported over 70 people in 1900 - fishing & farming in a hardy, close-knit community. Sadly, as herring stocks declined and World War I took its toll, the population fell and island life was no longer sustainable. The last 4 families (12 people in all) departed in 1938 in a storm on December 6th. In the distance in this picture, and much closer to the Skerray shore, Island Neave was also inhabited for a time, despite attacks by Vikings. It is believed to have been settled by Cormaic, a Celtic Saint associated with Columba, around 563AD, and a small Christian community lived there for about 1000 years, preaching across the narrow strait to people who gathered on a nearby Skerray hill. Today, nothing remains of the small monastery on Neave, but on Eilean nan Ron the house ruins still stand as a crumbling testimony to a hard but happy life.
Original painting commissioned by Neil Dykes in memory of his grandmother, Chrissie Dolina Mackay, one of the last inhabitants of Eilean nan Ron.