- MAINLAND ISLE, county of Shetland; containing 16,141 inhabitants. This is the largest island of the district, about sixty miles in length, and in some places sixteen in breadth, projecting into the sea in many irregular promontories, and indented by numerous bays and harbours. The interior or middle part is hilly and mountainous, and full of bogs and mosses; but the greater part of the coast is arable, producing chiefly oats sown in April, and barley about the middle of May. The hills are mostly covered with heath, and afford pasturage for cattle and sheep. The island is almost bare of trees, and hardly any shrubs are to be seen, except juniper and small roan trees and willows in the more sheltered valleys. It would, however, appear to have been formerly covered with wood, as trees of considerable size are occasionally dug up in the mosses, some of which are at a great depth; and it is generally observed that their tops are uniformly found lying towards the west, as if they had been overthrown by a storm or inundation from the east. There are appearances of various kinds of metallic ores; at Sandlodge, a coppermine was wrought for some time; and iron-ore is in considerable quantity. The island is divided into the eight parishes of Delting, Dunrossness, Lerwick, Nesting, Northmavine, Sandsting and Aithsting, Tingwall, and Walls and Sandness, all of which are described under their respective heads.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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