Isle of Harris


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Additional Information

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Harris is the southern part of the largest island of the Western Isles of Scotland or 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 the two parts of the same island. Lewis is, in general, the lower lying part of the island with Harris being the more mountainous.

Harris divides naturally into northern and southern parts which are separated by West Loch Tarbert. These halves are joined by a narrow isthmus at 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 Precambrian period, interspersed with granite intrusions. 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.

Harris was previously part of Inverness-shire, under older administrative divisions. In the 2001 census, Harris had a usually resident population of 1,984.

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.

Trivia: as listed in the ancient history of the Irish, the Parthalonians - Greek Scythians, are listed as ancestors of the Irish/Gaelic peoples so the possible etymology could be from the Gk. Harisiou, Haralambou, are shortened to Harry/Haris/Hara, Hariklea. Anglisized: Charisiou, Chara.

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