Scalpay relied mainly on fishing and fish farming for its existence and there is still and active fleet of small boats. As in most rural communities, crofting and weaving also supplemented the incomes of the inhabitants.
The Isle of Scalpay has a community shop with a cafe included on the seaward side. The shop is well equipped and the cafe very well run.
Scalpay has one of the earliest lighthouses in Scotland and a walk has been created to view both it, and also the magnificent scenery and marine views. The lighthouse is called Eileen Glas and was completed in 1789 and was the first project by the newly formed Northern Lighthouse Trust. The Trust was formed by an act of Parliament in 1786. The lighthouse was automated in 1978. Read more.
One significant peace of history that involves the island, is that Charles Edward Stuart, known as Bonny Prince Charlie, sought refuge on Scalpay. He was fleeing after the battle of Culloden in 1746. Local tradition tells that he hid in a cave at the secluded Lag an Laire.
One of the best reasons for visiting the Isle of Scalpay is to do the Island circular route past the lighthouse. The total distance is about 13K and takes about four hours or so. There is a lot of wildlife along the route and so allow time to stop and observe, Otters can be seen along this route.
Below is a walking map to study and you can pick up the route information from the Scalpay shop.