Auskerry (Old Norse: Austrsker, east skerry) is a small island in eastern Orkney, Scotland. It lies in the North Sea south of Stronsay and has a lighthouse, completed in 1866.

Norse nameAustrsker
Meaning of nameeast skerry
Auskerry shown within Orkney
OS grid referenceHY675165
Coordinates59.032267°N 2.569761°W / 59.032267; -2.569761
Physical geography
Island groupOrkney
Area85 hectares (0.33 sq mi)
Area rank157=[1]
Highest elevation18 metres (59 ft)
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Council areaOrkney Islands
Population rank77=[1]
Population density4.7 people/km2[2][3]
Auskerry Lighthouse
Auskerry lighthouse
Northern Isles
United Kingdom
Coordinates59.026036°N 2.572250°W / 59.026036; -2.572250
Year first constructed1866
Year first lit1866
Constructionstone tower
Tower shapecylindrical tower with balcony and lantern
Markings / patternwhite tower, black lantern, ochre trim
Tower height34 metres (112 ft)
Focal height34 metres (112 ft)
Light sourcesolar power
Range18 nautical miles (33 km; 21 mi)
CharacteristicFlashing White every 20 Seconds
Fog signalNone
Admiralty numberA3680
NGA number3232
ARLHS numberSCO-011
Managing agentNorthern Lighthouse Board[7][8]


Auskerry is a small, flat, red sandstone islet, 3 miles (5 km) south of Stronsay.[9][10] A standing stone and mediaeval chapel are signs of early settlement.[9] The island was uninhabited for a time after the automation of the lighthouse in the 1960s. It was previously a popular location for hunting seals.[9]

Auskerry has been inhabited for 30 years by a family who keep a flock of rare North Ronaldsay sheep.[11] There are three small wind turbines and four solar panels on the island, which provide most of the power. After a series of expansions and renovations, the single roomed stone bothy is now a modern house with four bedrooms, kitchen, shower room and living room. The chemical toilet is outdoors due to the complication of installing septic tanks. Mail is delivered from Stronsay, once a month, by a fishing boat.[12]


The Hastings County, a 116-metre Norwegian cargo ship, ran ashore on north west of Auskerry in 1926 during thick fog.[13] The vessel broke in half and wreckage is spread over a wide area, with the engine on the beach.

The lighthouse lights the north entrance to the Stronsay Firth.[14] It was built in 1866 by engineers David and Thomas Stevenson.[15] It is attached to two flats; the lower one is used all year as a store and the top one is used mainly in summer.


Auskerry is designated a Special Protection Area due to its importance as a nesting area for Arctic tern and storm petrel; 4.2% of the breeding population of storm petrel in Great Britain nest on the island.[16]

See also


  1. Area and population ranks: there are c.300 islands over 20ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
  2. National Records of Scotland (15 August 2013) (pdf) Statistical Bulletin: 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland - Release 1C (Part Two). "Appendix 2: Population and households on Scotland’s inhabited islands". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  3. Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.
  4. Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 5 Orkney (Northern Isles) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2008. ISBN 9780319228111.
  5. Anderson, Joseph (Ed.) (1893) Orkneyinga Saga. Translated by Jón A. Hjaltalin & Gilbert Goudie. Edinburgh. James Thin and Mercat Press (1990 reprint). ISBN 0-901824-25-9
  6. Pedersen, Roy (January 1992) Orkneyjar ok Katanes (map, Inverness, Nevis Print)
  7. Auskerry The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 24 May 2016
  8. Auskerry Northern Lighthouse Board. Retrieved 24 May 2016
  9. "Auskerry". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  10. Express, Britain. "Orkney geography and climate". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  11. "Isle of Auskerry". Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  12. "Why postage should be cheaper in UK if Scots vote 'Yes'". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  13. "Hastings County". North Isles Diving. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  14. "SS Hastings County Ashore On Auskerry". Scran. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  15. "Auskerry History". Northern Lighthouse Board. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  16. "Special Protection Area description: Auskerry". JNCC. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007.

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