Out Skerries


A group of low-lying islands and rocky islets in Shetland, situated 24 miles (39 km) northeast of Lerwick. Known locally simply as Skerries, the three main islands are Housay (West Isle), Bruray (East Isle) and the uninhabited island of Grunay. Bound Skerry, with its Stevenson Lighthouse (1858), is Shetland's easternmost point and the most easterly point of Scotland. These islands feel even more Norwegian than other parts of Shetland, perhaps not surprising given that Bergen lies only 206 miles (331 km) to the east across the North Sea.

Housay and Bruray are linked by the Skerries Bridge, built in 1957. The islanders, of whom there are 76 (2001), earn their living from fishing or salmon farming and the local school is Britain's smallest secondary school. With relatively low rainfall and no natural water supply, the island suffers from a shortage of drinking water. In 1968, 1970 and again in 2002, water had to be delivered to the islands by tanker. A remarkable channel curves around Bruray Ward to collect water and route it to a small reservoir. This reservoir is augmented by a large steel tank and a filtration and pumping station which supplies individual properties. The island also lacks peat, with the islanders having a traditional right to cut peat for fuel on Whalsay. A vehicle ferry links the Out Skerries to Vidlin on the Shetland Mainland, with a larger ferry sailing twice-weekly from Lerwick. Scheduled flights from Tingwall arrive at an airstrip on Bruray.

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