The community of Uig consists of some 20 small crofting townships located along Little Loch Roag, the Valtos Peninsula, the Uig Bay area and along the Atlantic seaboard.
The population is in the region of 350 but numbers vary as new in-migrants move to Uig and the older members of the population pass away. Gàidhlig is spoken by less than half, about 35 per cent (compared to 85/90 per cent in 1970), of the adult population, and while crofting continues in most villages it is commonly on a greatly reduced scale than was previously the case. Uig school has a Gàidhlig medium unit, the primary school roll is now (2022) 27 pupils.
Occupations in Uig are varied; there has been a significant growth in the numbers working from home on all manner of enterprises; local authority employment and local businesses like SeaTrek in Miavaig and Uig Lodge Smoked Salmon and Uig Sands restaurant, Uig Community Shop and the local fish farm are the principal local employers. The Bhaltos Peninsula and the former military camp area of Gallan Head and the shop are community owned. The remainder of the parish, a vast area that stretches from Hamnaway in the South to Morsgail in the north and include the settlements along the coast, is owned by Reasort Estates.
There is considerable interest in history and heritage, archaeology, the Vikings, legends and stories, clearance and settlement, ethnography, genealogy, crofting or fishing and much of it is available in the Comunn Eachdraidh which has amassed a large and very detailed body of knowledge. The Comunn Eachdraidh was started as part of the government’s Job Creation Scheme in the 1980s, the collection now housed in the museum within the Uig Community Centre includes the original collections from that period as well as significant additional materials that have been gathered or donated since the Comunn Eachdraidh relocated to the Uig Community Centre in 1998.
Download pdf for the story of some of the cleared villages which were resettled in 1921
Uig Consists of 20 Villages (in order from beginning of Uig to road end):
Gisla, on the shores of Loch Roag, was a small township of 5 tenants until about 1850. It was then given to Angus Maclean, a stonemason from Melbost who had lived at Scaliscro, in payment for his work on the construction of Morsgail Lodge
Enaclete is a village on the western shores of Little Loch Roag, comprising nine crofts. An abundance of small stone piers and landing stages on the shore indicate the importance of fishing and boat transport to and from the village.
Ungeshader is a small village of just four crofts (each with one or two houses, now uninhabited) on the east side of Little Loch Roag, very near the narrows.
Geshader was occupied relatively late, by people coming in from other parts of the district in the mid-19th century.
Carashader was lotted in 1849 into 12 regular crofts laid out in a line straddling the main road through Uig, between the hill and the shore of Loch Roag, looking over to Reef and Vuia.
The name Maivig. is from the norse mjo vagr for ‘narrow bay’, which accurately describes it. It is located at the head of Valtos Glen and at the short causeway to the Valtos peninsula.
Cliff is a small village on Camas na Clibhe, between high cliffs on both sides, and at the head of Loch Sgaillear.
Valtos (from the Norse vald hus, house of one in power) is a large and well-populated village on the Valtos peninsula.
The village of Kneep is situated on the Valtos Peninsula in Uig, between Valtos and Reef. Crofts 1 to 15 are next to Valtos, and much fragmented.
The township of Reef, situated on machair and rocky headland on the Valtos penisula in West Uig, was cleared of its inhabitants to make way for a sheep farm, under the ownership of Sir James Matheson.
Uigen is a small village on the Valtos Peninsula. It was previously considered an extension of Kneep and the crofts are numbered accordingly, beginning with 16.
Àird Ùig/Aird Uig
Aird Uig is a small village of 10 crofts (counting 3a and 3b as two) situated at the end of the road to Gallan Head, on the western side of the Amhainn Gil na h-Airde.
Timsgarry, a village of 8 crofts in the central part of West Uig, overlooking Uig Sands. It adjoins the old (and now deserted) township of Erista and the church and glebe lands at Baile na Cille.
Crowlista is located in Uig in the west of Lewis, on the north side of Camas Uig and the Traigh Mhor. It is an old settlement, with rocky ground in contrast to the machair around the other parts of the bay.
Eadar Dha Fhadhail /Ardroil
Ardroil (Eadar Dha Fhadhail – ‘between two fords’) lies on the southwestern side of Uig Sands.
According to D Maciver, Place Names of Lewis and Harris, the name Carnish is from the Norse kvern-nes, meaning ‘promontory of the querns’ (ie hand mills).
Mangersta (probably “Magnus’s steading”) was cleared at the same time as Mealista, in 1837-38, to make way for sheep.
Islivig was described in Uig: A Hebridean Parish, in 1959:
Breanish is a large village near the end of the Uig road – since the clearance of Mealista in 1838, it has been the last inhabited village in the district.
Mealista or Eilean Mhealastadh, an uninhabited island of Uig parish, Outer Hebrides, Ross and Cromarty, on the north side of the mouth of Loch Reasort, and ½ mile from the west coast of Lewis.
Uig in old Viking norse
See here for a detailed map of Uig with viking norse village names
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