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The Skerries Site of Special Scientific Interest (GB)

The Skerries, United Kingdom

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Sule Skerry is a remote skerry in the North Atlantic off the north coast of Scotland.

Sule Skerry lies 60 kilometres west of the Orkney Mainland at grid reference HX621244. Sule Skerry's sole neighbour, Sule Stack, lies 10km to the southwest. The remote islands of Rona and Sula Sgeir lie approximately 80km further to the west. Sule Skerry and Sule Stack are both a part of the Orkney Islands council area.

Sule Skerry is 16 ha in area and about 0.8 kilometres long along its length. It reaches a height of 12 meters. It is formed of Lewisian gneiss.

There is a lighthouse at the centre high point of the island and a number of small cairns around the periphery.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Sule Skerry lighthouse was the most remote manned lighthouse in Great Britain from its opening in 1895 to its automation in 1982. Its remote location meant that construction could only take place during the summer, thus it took from 1892-94 to complete.

A meteorological buoy used in Met Office's Marine Automatic Weather Station (MAWS) Network is located off Sule Skerry. Results from the buoy are used in the Shipping Forecast.

Sule Skerry together with Sule Stack are listed as a Special Protection Area as they are home during the breeding season to thousands of puffins and gannets and smaller numbers of the rarer Leach's Storm Petrel and Storm Petrels. Note that Leach's petrel visit the island but breeding is not proved. Since the first visiting birds in 2003 there is now a large breeding population of Gannet; a possible overflow from nearby Sule Stack.

Every year the puffins and other seabirds on sule skerry are monitored by a team of birders called the sule skerry ringing group. They have been monitoring the seabirds on the island since 1975.

The island is tree-less, since few trees would withstand the high winds of winter and salt spray environment. The dominant plant is maritime mayweed (Tripleurospermum maritimum).

The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry is a story of a Silkie who lives on Sule Skerry.

Coordinates: 59°05′03″N 4°24′29″W / 59.08412°N 4.40813°W / 59.08412; -4.40813

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Official Record

  • WDPA ID139786
  • NameThe Skerries
  • Original NameThe Skerries
  • Country / TerritoryGBR
  • Sub locationGB-WLS
  • IUCN CategoryIVWhat is this?
  • English DesignationSite of Special Scientific Interest (GB)
  • Designation TypeNational
  • StatusDesignated
  • Status Year1957
  • Reported Area km20.170680954671
  • Marinefalse
  • Governance TypeFederal or national ministry or agency
  • International CriteriaNot Applicable
  • Management AuthorityNot Reported
  • Management Plan URLNot Reported




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