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"UNST, a parish in the Orkney and Shetland islands, Scotland. It comprises the most northerly of the Shetland Isles, including Unst, Uya, Balta, and many smaller islands, as the Skerries, off Skaw Head, and the Outstack rock, being the most northerly point of the British Isles. It is of an oblong form, extending from N.N.E. to S.S.W.; in length about 11½ miles, with a mean breadth of about 3½ miles. The coast is rocky, and is indented by bays and creeks. In the W. and N. the headlands sometimes reach an altitude of 400 feet. On an outlying conical rock 201 feet in height was erected in 1858 a tower 60 feet high, which serves as a lighthouse, 4 miles from Burra Fiord."

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


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1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

  • BALTA, an islet (small), in the parish of Unst, county of Shetland. This is nearly the northernmost isle of the Shetland range. It is situated in the latitude of 60° 47' north, and on the east side of Unst island, the sea between being called Balta Sound. Here the shore of Unst forms a fine and safe inland harbour, stretching east to west about two miles, protected at its mouth by the isle of Balta.

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  • HOLMS-The-isles, isles in the parish of Unst, county of Shetland. These are three minute uninhabited isles, which lie to the north-west of the island of Unst; they are nearly of the same size, and are the smallest of the whole Shetland group.

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  • HUNIE, an islet (very small), in the parish of Unst, county of Shetland; lying on the east side of the isle of Unst, and a short distance from Balta.

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  • UYA, an isle, in the parish of Unst, county of Shetland; containing 23 inhabitants. This isle lies to the south of Unst island, and has an indentation called Uya Sound, forming a commodious harbour, well sheltered, and which is a great resort of vessels engaged in the deep-sea fishing. The isle is more than a mile in length and nearly a mile in breadth, and affords pasturage for cattle and sheep.

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