"YELL, (Middle and South) a united parish in the island of Yell, Shetland Isles, coast of Scotland. It comprises the post-office stations of East Yell and Burra-voe, the isles of Hascussay, Samphrey, and the middle and southern portions of the island of Yell. The parish extends 13¼ miles N. and S. in length, with an extreme breadth of 7 miles, including a large extent of water, which is intimately mingled with the land. The chief portion of the land is in pasture and unenclosed moorland. On the W. side of the island of Yell the shores are rocky, but on the E. low and sandy. Traces of copper ore have been found in the serpentine rocks. Most of the inhabitants unite the occupations of farmers and fishermen, and within the last quarter of a century sheep-farming has been successfully introduced. The living of the united parishes of Middle and South Yell is in the presbytery of Burra-voe."

From The National Gazetteer of of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)


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Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis - 1851

HASCUSSAY, an isle, in the parish of Mid-and-South-Yell, in the county of Shetland; containing 42 inhabitants. Hascussay lies on the east side of Yell, in Colgrave sound, and west of the isle of Fetlar; it is one of the smaller of the Shetland group, and was formerly uninhabited.

SAMPHREY, an isle, in the parish of Mid and South Yell, county of Shetland; containing 36 inhabitants. It is a small island lying in Yell sound, about a mile and a half southward from Biga island.

SANDWICK, an isle, in the parish of Mid-and-South-Yell, county of Shetland. It is a very small isle, situated in the sound of Yell, and a short distance from the western coast of the island of that name. Between it and the Mainland of Shetland is the isle of Stour-holm.

UNARAY, an isle, in the parish of Mid-and-South-Yell, county of Shetland. It is a small uninhabited isle, in the sound of Yell, close to the north point of Bigga.

YELL, an island, in the county of Shetland; containing 2689 inhabitants. This island, one of the most northern of the Shetland group, lies to the north-east of Northmavine on the Mainland, to the south-west of Unst, and to the west of Fetlar. It is about twenty miles in length and six in breadth, having, generally, a bold and rocky coast, indented with numerous bays and voes, several of which form safe and convenient harbours, and serve as excellent fishing-stations. Two ranges of hills, varying from 200 to 400 feet in height, extend almost the whole length of the island, in a nearly parallel direction, from north to south, and are in some parts intersected by other hills running east to west; the surface otherwise is moderately low, particularly along the whole of the eastern coast. For the most part the soil is of a mossy quality, mixed with particles of decayed rock; and in several places are extensive peat mosses, in which are found large trees, though scarcely a shrub is now to be seen growing in the isle. The arable land is chiefly near the shore, and is very inconsiderable in proportion to the undivided common, which is estimated at about 45,000 acres, producing an abundance of a rough sort of grass, here called lubbo, that grows naturally, and affords a tolerable pasture for sheep, horses, and black-cattle. In the northern part of the island the principal bays are Basta voe, Gloup voe, the sand of Brecon, Papal-ness, and Cullivoe; on the south the chief harbours are Hamna voe and Burra voe, about a mile distant from each other. Gloup voe is the only place where the ling or deep-sea fishing is now carried on in Yell. The fishing-boats belonging to the east side of the island assemble at this station for the summer fishing about the 1st of June, and leave again about the 12th of August: the boats on the west side fish at Northmavine.

YELL-MID-AND-SOUTH, a parish, in the county of Shetland, 32 miles (N.) from Lerwick; containing, with the islands of Hascussay and Samphrey, 1705 inhabitants. It includes the middle and southern districts of the island of Yell, which belongs to the group usually called the North Isles; and annexed to the parish are the island of Samphrey, on the west, distant about a mile from Yell, and the island of Hascussay, about one mile distant towards the east. It is bounded on the west by Yell sound, which is six miles across, and distinguished from most of the other channels on the north coast of Shetland by the great rapidity of its current; on the east by Colgrave sound, which averages three miles in breadth; and on the south by that of Lunnafirth, about four miles broad. There are 37,000 acres of land in the parish, of which about 4000 are inclosed; and of this latter portion 1500 acres are cultivated. The coast varies in its aspect in different parts, but in general is bold and rocky. It is penetrated by several voes or inlets affording good landing-places, with ample accommodation and security for vessels in any weather. Mid Yell voe, on the east, contains sufficient space and depth of water to moor a large fleet. Near this is Whalefirth voe, on the west, separated from the former only by a tract of land a mile broad, so that, by the construction of a canal, the junction of the two sounds, and consequently of two great seas, might be effected. On the south are the harbours of Burra voe and Hamna voe, which are both secure and convenient retreats, about a mile distant from each other.



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