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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. There were 6 crofts and 12 families in those days, with a few cattle, sheep and crops. Access to the sea was via steep steps to a tiny pier, or by a narrow path to a gravel beach. Elsewhere were grey conglomerate cliffs, sea arches, and caves. The largest cave, Carn Talmhainn, was used to dry fish with natural salt carried in the sea air. Another bounty from the sea was a barrel of rum, washed ashore and craftily relieved of its contents by the islanders before notifying the authorities! 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. The house ruins stand today 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.