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Auskerry Lighthouse.jpg
Auskerry Lighthouse

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Grid reference: HY675165
Area: 210 acres
Highest point: 59 feet
Population: 5

Auskerry is a small island in eastern Orkney. It lies in the North Sea south of Stronsay and has a lighthouse, completed in 1866.

The name of the island is from Norse, and means “East Skerry”.


Auskerry is a small, flat, red sandstone islet, three miles south of Stronsay.[1] A standing stone and mediæval chapel are signs of early settlement.[1] 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.[1]

Auskerry has been inhabited for 30 years by a family who keep a flock of rare North Ronaldsay sheep.[2] 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.


The Hastings County, a 380-foot Norwegian cargo ship ran ashore on north west of Auskerry in 1926 during thick fog.[3] 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.[4] It was built in 1866 by engineers David and Thomas Stevenson.[5] 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.[6]


Islands of Orkney

Inhabited islands:
Mainland  •
Auskerry  • Burray  • Eday  • Egilsay  • Flotta  • Gairsay  • Graemsay  • Hoy  • North Ronaldsay  • Papa Stronsay  • Papa Westray  • Rousay  • Sanday  • Shapinsay  • South Ronaldsay  • South Walls  • Stronsay  • Westray  • Wyre

Other islands:
Eynhallow  •
Helliar Holm  • Lamb Holm  • Switha  • Swona