Friday, December 6, 2013

Shark Factory - Soay

I was fortunate to have visited Soay (off Skye) on a picture perfect spring day. I believe that the last permanent residents left Soay in 1953. But when I visited in 2007 it appeared that at least one of the houses was lived in year round. The island is best known from Gavin Maxwell's book 'Harpoon at a Venture', which tells of the Shark factory he established there from 1945 to 1948. The first two photos show what's left of the factory. A typical basker would yield around 160 gallons of oil, and the meat and skin were also sold. 

Soay is also known for having the first solar powered telephone exchange, and you can see the solar panels at the top of the third photo. Sadly, the old phone box (also seen in the third photo) is a ruin. An interesting book on Soay is 'The Soay of our Forefathers', by Laurence Reed.

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