The Hoevdi Gründ, also known as the Shaalds o' Foula are a cluster of submerged rocks which lie approx 2-3 miles east of the island of Foula. At low water they come to within approx four feet of the surface.
The laird of Foula for the first 35 years of the 20th Century, Ian B. S. Holbourn offers the following explanation for their name. That it does not, as might be expected, have anything to do with "grund" being the Shetland word for ground, but is, he believed to be derived from "grind" meaning gate, road, or gap. "Hoevdi" being a headland, and "Gründ" being a variation of "grind" which in this case is used to denote a gap, arises due to the fact that they are located at a spot from which Wester Hoevdi on the west coast of Foula can be seen in the Daal gap between the hills. Effectively they are named after the Meid (Mark) used to locate them.
It is also worth noting however, that in older Norse "Grundt" was the name for "shallows", which may suggest another meaning.
In the mid 19th Century Robert Cowie was to record that the kelp which grows on the rocks did break surface with low tides, he also noted that on one of the largest rocks there were one or two deep depressions which contained several large loose boulders, which appeared to have lain there for some time. Whenever the sea became agitated, and that is frequently, these boulders were set in motion and were steadily eroding the surface of the rock and making the depressions deeper.
A very strong tide runs close to the rocks, it is thought to be in the vicinity of 12 knots at full run.
Over the centuries the rocks have claimed a number ships, some identified, some not. The most notable of these being the Oceanic on September 8th 1914. Other indentified vessels include the Marec which wrecked on May 29th 1907, plus the Flora on October 30th 1848 and the Henriette at the end of November/beginning of December 1881, both of which grounded but refloated and drifted away unmanned before wrecking elsewhere. Unidentified vessels include one on December 7th 1840 and another on December 5th 1882.