Fair Isle

From Academic Kids

Fair Isle (From Old Norse frioar-øy) is an island in the British Isles lying around halfway between the Shetland Islands and the Orkney Islands at Template:Coor dm. Three miles (4.8 km) in length and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide, it has an area of 1402 acres (561 ha). The island is situated around 25 miles (40 km) south-west of Sumburgh on the Shetland mainland.

The majority of the 70 islanders live in the crofts on the southern half of the island, with the northern half consisting of rocky moorland. The western coast consists of cliffs of up to 660 feet (200 m) in height. The population has been decreasing steadily from around 400 in around 1900. There are no pubs or restaurants on the island, but there is a single primary school. After the age of 11, children must attend a boarding school in Lerwick.

Although it is marginally closer to North Ronaldsay island in the Orkneys, Fair Isle is administratively part of the Shetland Islands. It gives its name to one of the British Sea Areas.

Fair Isle has been occupied since the Bronze Age which is remarkable because of the lack of raw materials on the island. It has a permanent bird observatory because of its importance as a bird migration watchpoint. Many rare species of bird have been found on the island, and it is probably the best place in western Europe to see skulking Siberian passerines like Pechora Pipit, Lanceolated Warbler and Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler.

The island was bought by the National Trust for Scotland in 1954 from George Waterson, the founder of the bird observatory.

Fair Isle is famous for its knitted sweaters, with knitting forming an important source of income for the women of the islands. The principal activity for the male islanders is crofting.

On January 29, 2004, Fair Isle was granted Fairtrade Island status.

On August 20, 1588 the 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.

External link

gd:Fara it:Isola di Fair sv:Fair Isle

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