Infobox UK place
gaelic_name= Na Hearadh
post_town = ISLE OF HARRIS
constituency_westminster= Na h-Eileanan an Iar
unitary_scotland= Na h-Eileanan Siar
lieutenancy_scotland= Western Isles
constituency_scottish_parliament= Western Isles
language= Scottish Gaelic
Harris ("Na Hearadh" in Scottish Gaelic pronounced|nə hɛɾəɣ) is the southern part of the largest island of the
Western Islesof Scotlandor Outer Hebrides("Na h-Eileanan Siar"). The northern part of the island is called Lewis("Leòdhas"). Despite the use of the terms 'Isle of Lewis' and 'Isle of Harris', the two names 'Harris' and 'Lewis' refer to two parts of the same island. Lewis is, in general, the lower lying part of the island with Harris being the more mountainous.
Harris is most likely to be the island referred to as "Adru" (meaning thick, stout or bulky) on
Ptolemy's map of the British Isles. Most of the place names on Harris come from Old Norse. "Hérað" means "a type of administrative district" and possibly comes from an alteration of an unknown Pictish/Gaelic original.
Harris divides naturally into northern and southern parts which are separated by West and
East Loch Tarbert. These halves are joined by a narrow isthmusat the main settlement of Tarbert ("An Tairbeart" or "Tairbeart na Hearadh"). The bedrock of Harris is largely Lewisian gneisses, which were laid down in the Precambrianperiod, interspersed with graniteintrusions. One of these intrusions forms the summit plateau of the mountain Roinebhal. The granite here is anorthosite, and is similar in composition to rocks found in the mountains of the Moon. [ McKirdy, Alan Gordon, John & Crofts, Roger (2007) "Land of Mountain and Flood: The Geology and Landforms of Scotland". Edinburgh. Birlinn. Page 94.] [Gillen, Con (2003) "Geology and landscapes of Scotland". Harpenden. Terra Publishing. Pages 63-4.]
Harris is a part of historic
Inverness-shire, and was administered as such under older administrative divisions. In the 2001 census, Harris had a usually resident population of 1,984. [http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/factfile/population/islandpopulations.htm "Island Populations"] Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Retrieved 3 April 2008.]
North Harris, adjoining
Lewis, contains Clisham("An Cliseam"), the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides at 799 metres. The area is sparsely populated. Beyond Tarbert, the furthest settlement is Hushinish("Hùisinis") on the west coast. A bridge from the east coast links Harris to the island of Scalpay ("Scalpaigh na Hearadh").
In March 2003 the 62,500 acre North Harris Estate was purchased [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/2810017.stm Islanders celebrate buy-out] , BBC News Online, 1 March 2003] by
development trustthe North Harris Trust on behalf of the local community. [ [http://www.north-harris.org "Welcome to The North Harris Trust - "Urras Ceann a 'Tuath na Hearadh"] North Harris Trust. Retrieved 15 March 2008.] [ [http://www.dtascot.org.uk/whatis.cfm "About Development Trusts"] DTA Scotland. Retrieved 15 March 2008.] In April 2006 the Trust hosted the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Companyconference "Community Energy: Leading from the Edge" [ [http://www.hie.co.uk/hicecconference2006.html HICEC conference 2006] ] in Tarbert. In early 2008 the Trust received planning consent for three 86 metre (282 ft) wind turbines to be located at Monan. ["North Harris community wind farm approved" (February 2008) "John Muir Trust Journal" No. 44.] In 2008 Mike Russell, the Scottish environment ministerannounced that the North Harris Trust had begun canvassing local opinion about a proposal to create Scotland's third national parkin the area. [Ross, John (14th March 2008) "Island may be site of third national park". Edinburgh "The Scotsman".]
The southern part of Harris is less mountainous, with numerous unspoilt, white sandy beaches on the west coast. Its main settlements are
Rodel("Roghadal"), known for its medieval kirkof St. Clement ("Eaglais Chliamhain"), the most elaborate surviving medieval church in the Hebridesafter Iona Abbey, and Leverburgh("An Tòb na Hearadh" or "An t-Òb na Hearadh"). A ferry sails from the latter to Berneray ("Beàrnaraigh na Hearadh"), an island off the coast of North Uist("Uibhist a Tuath"), to which it is joined by a causeway.
The road which runs along the east coast of south Harris is known colloquially as the "Golden Road" as it cost so much money to build, when it was built in 1897. It runs from Tarbert to Rodel through the area of Harris known as Bays and through the coastal townships of
Lickisto("Liceasto"), Geocrab("Geòcrab"), Manish("Mànais"), Flodabay("Fleòideabhagh"), Ardvay("Àird Mhighe"), Finsbay("Fionnsbhagh") and Lingerbay("Lingreabhagh").
The beaches of Luskentyre and Scarista are amongst the most spectacular. From the former the island of
Taransay, where the BBC Television series Castaway 2000was recorded, is seen most clearly from Harris. At Scarista the beach is a venue for surfing and kite buggying. Nearby the Harris Golf Club offers well kept greens and views of the hills, but there is no play on Sundays. Scarista is the birthplace of the author Finlay J. MacDonaldwho wrote about growing up on Harris in the 1930s. His books: "Crowdie and Cream", "The Corncrake and the Lysander" and "Crotal and White" paint a vivid and humorous picture of Hebridean life.
Tarbert is the main port and capital village of Harris. The name Tarbert comes from the Norse tairbeart meaning "draw-boat". Tarbert is a community of approximately 500 located on a narrow strip of land between between Loch Tarbert and West Loch Tarbert. The village has the main ferry terminal, local tourist information and a range of small shops are available, including the
Harris TweedShop overlooking the main access road to the Cal Macferry terminal and AD Munro's general grocery store on the main street.
Recent media attention has surrounded angling on Harris and Tarbert in particular. Local fishermen have been targeting large Common Skate in the area and have had prolific catches, mainly from West Loch Tarbert in autumn through the winter. There is an application for the Scottish shore record of convert|183|lb|kg although a subsequently caught fish estimated at convert|204|lb|kg has been landed. These catches have attracted the attention of the local and national press and sea angling’s leading magazines. [ [http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=149235&command=displayContent&sourceNode=149218&contentPK=18750957&moduleName=InternalSearch&formname=sidebarsearch "Press and Journal" report] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7057841.stm BBC NEWS | Scotland | Highlands and Islands | Record-breaking hope for big fish ] ]
Economy and transport
Harris is also known for Harris tweed, although it is mostly now made in Lewis.
The Sir E. Scott secondary school in Tarbert serves the whole of the Isle of Harris and Scalpay. This school has a primary and secondary department and can educate up to sixth year. The current headmaster is Gordon Macdonald. [ [http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/education/harrisaddresses.htm "Harris School Details"] Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Retrieved
10 February 2008.] The largest photovoltaic cell installation in Scotland is a 21 kWp system at the school. [ [http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/press/041102.htm "Scotland's largest Sun Energy system installed in Western Isles"] ( 2 November 2004) Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Press release. Retrieved 31 August 2007.]
Harris has a largely Presbyterian population that practices
sabbatarianismand all retail outlets are shut on Sunday. [ [http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/hebrides2001/infobytes.htm "Hebrides 2002"] Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Retrieved 3 August 2008.] This area has been described as the last bastion of fundamentalist Calvinismin the UK and there was controversy in 2006 when Caledonian MacBraynedecided to commence operating a ferry service on Sundays. [Seenan, Gerard (10 April 2006) [http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,,1750597,00.html "Fury at ferry crossing on Sabbath"] "The Guardian". Retrieved 3 August 2008.]
Media and the arts
Tinted shots of parts of the island were used by
Stanley Kubrickas the surface of Jupiterin the film "". [ [http://www.filmhebrides.com/ "Welcome to Film Hebrides"] filmhebrides.com. Retrieved 26 September 2007.]
Lewis and Harris
History of the Outer Hebrides
* [http://www.leverburgh.co.uk/ Information on South Harris and Leverburgh including photographs]
* [http://www.explore-harris.com/ Information on the Isle of Harris by Explore Hebrides]
* [http://www.absolutelynothing.co.uk/isleofharris/?cid=823&lang=en-gb Pictures of Harris]
* [http://robinwilson.net/harris.html Panoramas of the Island] (QuickTime required)
* [http://www.southharris.com/ Photographs and useful information about Harris]
* [http://www.north-harris.org/ The North Harris Trust]
* [http://www.virtualhebrides.com/harris/location/scarista/ Scarista Beach]
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