A bust of the Viking believed to have been the first European to “discover” America is to be unveiled in Uig tomorrow (Wednesday) at the instigation of the Seattle-based society which keeps his memory alive.

The Leif Erikson International Foundation says its “final project” is to donate a 2ft high bust to the Uig community and that “this will complete the list of locations where the Sagas say Leif visited or lived”.

According to the Saga of Erik the Red, Leif visited the Hebrides in the year 1000 while en route to Trondheim.  The Foundation believe from their researches that “Uig is the most likely place in the Hebrides that Vikings might have inhabited”.

There has been considerable contact between the Foundation and the local historical society,  Comunn Eachdraidh Uig, in advance of the unveiling event which will take place adjacent to the local Community Centre. A party of Foundation members are visiting to the island to witness the unveiling of the bust.

The dedication ceremony will be held this afternoon with a ceilidh in the evening to welcome the visitors.  Many of the local placenames are of Norse origin and the visitors will explore the area’s historical connections with the Vikings.

Uig is also the location in which the Lewis chessmen were found in 1831.  They are thought to have been made in Trondheim in the mid-12thcentury and there is no certainty about how they ended up in Uig, buried in the sands. The Hebrides were under Norse control for 450 years.

The Leif Erikson International Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the “study, education and promotion of Leif Erikson as the first recorded European to come to America, and of Scandinavian culture and connections”.