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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. At first the men used small 35 foot sailing boats, but in 1870 were able to buy a larger boat from the Duke of Sutherland, and by 1910 they had hired a steam drifter in which they went as far afield as Lerwick and Lowestoft. Landing on the Island was always a little precarious, however, with a tiny concrete jetty and steep steps up the grey conglomerate cliff. A narrow gravel beach nearby enabled smaller boats to be hauled ashore. From there a narrow path climbed to the fields above. 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. Today, the house ruins stand as a mute and 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.