- Fair Isle
Infobox Scottish island |
meaning of name="Sheep island", from Norse
highest elevation=Ward Hill 217 m
population rank= 50
references= [2001 UK Census per
List of islands of Scotland] cite book| author=Haswell-Smith, Hamish| date=2004| title=The Scottish Islands| location=Edinburgh| publisher=Canongate| isbn=1-84195-454-3] [ [http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/ Ordnance Survey] ] [cite web| url=http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/language/gaelic/pdfs/placenamesF-J.pdf| title=Placenames| author=Iain Mac an Tailleir| publisher=Pàrlamaid na h-Alba| accessdate=2007-07-28] [Anderson, Joseph (Ed.) (1893) "Orkneyinga Saga". Translated by Jón A. Hjaltalin & Gilbert Goudie. Edinburgh. James Thin and Mercat Press (1990 reprint). ISBN 0-901824-25-9]
Fair Isle "(from Old Norse Frjóey)" "
Scottish GaelicEileann nan Geansaidh" is an island off Scotland, lying around halfway between Shetlandand the Orkney Islands. 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) in length and 2.4 kilometres (1.5 miles) wide, it has an area of 768 hectares (3 square miles), making it the tenth largest of the Shetland Islands. The island is situated around 40 kilometres (25 miles) south-west of Sumburgh Headon the Mainland of Shetland. Although it is marginally closer to North RonaldsayOrkney, Fair Isle is administratively part of Shetland. It gives its name to one of the British Sea Areas. It is the most remote inhabited island in the United Kingdom. [ [http://www.fairisle.org.uk/index.htm "Fair Isle"] fairisle.org.uk Retrieved 9 February 2008]
The majority of the seventy islanders live in the
croftson the southern half of the island, with the northern half consisting of rocky moorland. The western coast consists of cliffs of up to 200 metres (660 feet) in height. The population has been decreasing steadily from around four hundred in around 1900. There are no pubs or restaurants on the island, but there is a single primary school. After the age of eleven, children must attend a boarding school in Lerwick.
Fair Isle has been occupied since the
Bronze Agewhich is remarkable because of the lack of raw materials on the island, although it is surrounded by rich fishing waters.
August 20, 1588the flagship of the Spanish Armada, " El Gran Grifón", was shipwrecked in the cove of Stroms Heelor, forcing its 300 sailors to spend six weeks living with the islanders. The wreck was discovered in 1970.
Fair Isle has had a permanent
bird observatorysince 1948 because of its importance as a bird migrationwatchpoint and this provides most of the accommodation on the island. The first Director of the observatory was Kenneth Williamson. [ [http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk/history.htm "The History of Fair Isle Bird Observatory"] fairislebirdobs.co.uk. Retrieved 1 August 2008.] It is unusual amongst bird observatories in providing catered, rather than hostel-style, accommodation. Many rare species of birdhave been found on the island, and it is probably the best place in western Europeto see skulking Siberian passerines like Pechora Pipit, Lanceolated Warblerand Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler. In 2008 a Caspian Ploverwas observed, only the fourth such record for the UK.Hughes, Mark (5 May 2008) "Rare bird sends twitchers on a wild plover chase". Edinburgh. "The Scotsman".]
The island was bought by the
National Trust for Scotlandin 1954 from George Waterson, the founder of the bird observatory. [ [http://www.ntseducation.org.uk/students/case-fairIsle.html "Case Study: Wind Power on Fair Isle"] NTS. Retrieved 7 May 2008.] [Nicolson, James R. (1972) "Shetland". Newton Abbot. David & Charles p. 27.]
Fair Isle is famous for its knitted jumpers, with
knittingforming an important source of income for the women of the islands. The principal activity for the male islanders is crofting.
Since 1982, two thirds of the community's power has been supplied by wind turbines, and just one third by diesel generators. The island has a distinctive double electrical network. Standard electricity service is provided on one network, and electric heating is delivered by a second set of cables. The electric heating is mainly served by excess electricity from the two wind turbines that would otherwise have had to be dumped. Remote frequency-sensitive programmable relays control individual water heaters and storage heaters in the buildings of the community.
Ward Hill (715ft) played host to a hastily built
RAFradar station during WWII, the ruins of which are still present today. There are also substantial sections of a crashed Heinkel He 111.
January 29, 2004, Fair Isle was granted Fairtrade Island status.
Fair Isle Airportserves the island with flights to Lerwickand Kirkwall(Kirkwall only seasonal)
Good Shepherd IV" plies between Fair Isle and Grutness
List of Shetland islands
* [http://www.fairisle.org.uk/ Fair Isle community website]
* [http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk/ Fair Isle bird observatory]
* [http://www.fairisle.org.uk/FIECo/index.htm Fair Isle Electricity Company Ltd]
* [http://www.fairisle.org.uk/egef/index.htm Details of its airport]
* [http://www.originart.eu/shetland/south/fairisle/fair_map.html Photographic tour of the island]
* [http://www.beaellisknitwear.com/images/enlarged/book49.jpgExamples of Fair Isle Knitting]
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