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History of the Isle of May

The Isle of May is owned and managed by Scottish National Heritage (SNH) for more information please visit their website at - www.snh.org.uk

It is an outstandingly attractive island which lies at the entrance to the Firth of Forth, surrounded by prolific fishing grounds, which supports the varied sea life which lives here. The island is 1.5 km long, 0.5 km wide with marked paths leading all over the island affording excellent views of the wildlife and their habitat.

The first human settlers arrived in Fife about 8,000 years ago and made good use of the May Island for fishing and seal hunting, the earliest find of human activity that has so far been found on the Isle is a piece of pottery dated 2,000 B C, ancient flint arrow heads have also been found. It seems that long before Christianity the island had some religious significance, this serene austere island certainly lends it self to peaceful thoughts, place names around the island are reminders of its religious history, such as Kirkhaven, Alterstanes, the Angel, the Pilgrim etc

It is thought that the island name comes from the Norsemen who called the island Maa Oy, which is norse for gull island.