A skerry is a small rocky island, usually too small for human habitation. It may simply be a rocky reef. A skerry can also be called a low sea stack.[1]

A skerry may have vegetative life such as moss and small, hardy grasses. They also, in some areas of the world, are rested upon by animals such as seals or birds, though usually not inhabited.

Skerry in shallow water
Skerry outside Krøttøy in Harstad municipality, Norway
Skerries which are part of the Åland Islands, Finland
Passing a skerry off Garibaldi, Oregon.


The term skerry is derived from the Old Norse sker, which means a rock in the sea (which in turn derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *sker-, "cut", in the sense of a rock cut off from the land).[2] The Old Norse term sker was brought into the English language via the Scots language word spelled skerrie or skerry. It is a cognate of the Scandinavian languages' words for skerryIcelandic, Faroese: sker, Danish: skær, Swedish: skär, Norwegian: skjær / skjer, found also in German: Schäre, Finnish: kari, Estonian: skäär, Latvian: šēra, Lithuanian: Šcheras and Russian: шхеры (shkhery). In Scottish Gaelic, it appears as sgeir, e.g. Sula Sgeir, in Irish as sceir, in Welsh as sgeri, and in Manx as skeyr.


Skerries are most commonly formed at the outlet of fjords where submerged glacially formed valleys at right angles to the coast join with other cross valleys in a complex array. In some places near the seaward margins of fjorded areas, the ice-scoured channels are so numerous and varied in direction that the rocky coast is divided into thousands of island blocks, some large and mountainous while others are merely rocky points or rock reefs that menace navigation.


The island fringe of Norway is such a group of glacially formed skerries,called a (skjærgård which translates to archipelago); many of the cross fjords are so arranged that they parallel the coast and provide a protected channel behind an almost unbroken succession of rocky islands and skerries. By this channel one can travel through a protected passage almost the entire 1,600 km route from Stavanger to North Cape, Norway. The Blindleia is a skerry-protected waterway that starts near Kristiansand in southern Norway, and continues past Lillesand.

The Inside Passage provides a similar route from Seattle, Washington to Skagway, Alaska. Another such skerry-protected passage extends from the Straits of Magellan north for 800 km (500 mi) along the west coast of the South American continent.

The Swedish coast along Bohuslän is likewise guarded by skerries. Even the east coast of Sweden, in the Baltic Sea, has many big skärgårdar (archipelagos), notably Stockholm archipelago - Stockholms skärgård.

Loch Uisgebhagh
Islets and skerries in Loch Uisgebhagh, east of Benbecula, Outer Hebrides

The southwestern coast of Finland also has a great many skerries; so many, in fact, that they form an archipelago. This area is experiencing post-glacial rebound that connects the rising islands as they break sea level, revealing till deposits and eventually clay bottoms. The skerries exist as small rocky islands before uplift of adjacent terrain changes the classification of this landform into a tombolo.[3]

In the Russian Federation, the best examples are the Minina Skerries, located in the Kara Sea, in the western shores of the Taymyr Peninsula, and the Sumsky Skerries (Sumskiye Shkhery) 64°24′N 35°30′E / 64.400°N 35.500°E, located in the White Sea.

The United Kingdom has a large number of skerries including Staple Island (an Outer Farne Island) in England; a small rocky outcrop near the Fowlsheugh in northeast Scotland; numerous reefs in the Hebrides such as Dubh Artach and Skerryvore; and The Skerries, located off the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland.

Skerries is the name of a coastal area of Dublin, Ireland, with many skerries offshore, including Rockabill, Shenick Island, Colt Island and St Patrick's Island.

The most southerly skerries are perhaps the Skrap Skerries off South Georgia.

See also


  1. ^ Johnson, M.E., & Webb, G.E. (2007). Outer rocky shores of the mowanbini archipelago, devonian reef complex, canning basin, western Australia. The Journal of Geology, 115. Retrieved from
  2. ^
  3. ^ Tolvanen, H, Numminen, S, & Kalliola, R. (2004). Spatial distribution and dynamics of special shore-forms (tombolos, flads and glo-lakes) in an uplifting archipelago of the Baltic sea. Journal of Coastal Research, 20(1), Retrieved from
Bound Skerry

Bound Skerry is part of the Out Skerries group in the Shetland Islands. As well as being the most easterly island of that group, it is also the easternmost point of Scotland.

It has a lighthouse on it, which was built in 1857 at a cost of £21,000. Robert Louis Stevenson's family were lighthouse builders, and his signature can be seen in its guestbook. The keepers lived on nearby Grunay.

The island was bombed twice in World War II by the German Luftwaffe, because it was suspected to harbour a munitions factory.

Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry (born September 27, 1961) is a photographer and photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine. In 2014 he was named a National Geographic Photography Fellow.Skerry is a Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, the Explorer-In-Residence at the New England Aquarium and in 2015 he was named a Nikon Ambassador (United States).

List of Orkney islands

This is a list of Orkney islands in Scotland. The Orkney archipelago is located 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) north of mainland Scotland and comprises over 70 islands and skerries, of which 20 are permanently inhabited. In addition to the Orkney Mainland there are three groups of islands. The North and South Isles lie respectively north and south of Mainland. The Pentland Skerries are a group of small islands in the Pentland Firth, a dangerous stretch of water between mainland Scotland and the larger islands of Orkney, through which run the strongest tidal streams in Britain. The Isle of Stroma is often mistakenly included with the Orkney Islands, but is part of Caithness.

The definition of an island used in this list is that it is 'land that is surrounded by seawater on a daily basis, but not necessarily at all stages of the tide, excluding human devices such as bridges and causeways'. There are four islands joined to the Orkney Mainland by a series of causeways known as the Churchill Barriers. They are South Ronaldsay, Burray, Lamb Holm and Glimps Holm. In addition, Hunda is connected to Burray by a causeway. The barriers were constructed by Italian prisoners-of-war as a means of preventing enemy submarine access to the vast natural harbour of Scapa Flow after the sinking of HMS Royal Oak by a German U-boat in 1939 with the loss of 883 lives. The Italian prisoners constructed a small Roman Catholic chapel on Lamb Holm as a place of worship during their incarceration.Most of the islands have a bedrock formed from Old Red Sandstone, which is about 400 million years old, and was laid down in the Devonian period. The islands have good agricultural qualities and have been continuously inhabited for thousands of years, as evidenced by the World Heritage Site of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. The archipelago is exposed to wind and tide, and there are numerous lighthouses as an aid to navigation. The European Marine Energy Centre, which is located at Stromness, is currently testing various wave and tidal energy devices from Billia Croo on the Mainland and Eday. The islands all fall within the Orkney Islands Council area. Most of the larger islands have development trusts that support the local economy.The total population of Orkney increased from 19,245 in 2001 to 21,349 at the time of the 2011 census.

List of Shetland islands

This is a list of Shetland islands in Scotland. The Shetland archipelago is located 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of mainland Scotland and the capital Lerwick is almost equidistant from Bergen in Norway and Aberdeen in Scotland. The Shetland archipelago comprises about 300 islands and skerries, of which 16 are inhabited. In addition to the Shetland Mainland the larger islands are Unst, Yell and Fetlar.

The definition of an island used in this list is that it is land that is surrounded by seawater on a daily basis, but not necessarily at all stages of the tide, excluding human devices such as bridges and causeways. There are four islands joined to the Shetland Mainland by bridges, East Burra, West Burra, Trondra, and Muckle Roe. There is also a bridge from Housay to Bruray. Nowhere in Shetland is more than three miles (5 km) from the sea. Mavis Grind (Old Norse for "gate of the narrow isthmus") is a narrow neck of land little more than 100 metres (328 feet) wide separating St. Magnus Bay and the Atlantic in the west from Sullom Voe and the North Sea in the east.The geology of Shetland is complex with numerous faults and fold axes. These islands are the northern outpost of the Caledonian orogeny and there are outcrops of Lewisian, Dalradian and Moine metamorphic rocks with similar histories to their equivalents on the Scottish mainland. Similarly, there are also Old Red Sandstone deposits and granite intrusions. The most distinctive feature is the ultrabasic ophiolite, peridotite and gabbro on Unst and Fetlar, which is a remnant of the Iapetus Ocean floor. Much of the island's economy depends on the oil-bearing sediments in the surrounding seas. In the post-glacial epoch, c. 6200 BC, the islands experienced a tsunami up to 20 metres high caused by the Storegga Slides, an immense underwater landslip off the coast of Norway.The islands all fall within the Shetland Islands Council local authority. They have been continuously inhabited since Neolithic times and experienced Norse rule for several centuries, the first written records being the Norse sagas. The excavations at Jarlshof near the southern end of the Mainland have provided archaeological evidence of life in Shetland since Bronze Age times and the annual Up Helly Aa fire festivals are a living reminder of Shetland's Viking past. The archipelago is exposed to wind and tide and there are numerous lighthouses as an aid to navigation. A small wind farm on Shetland recently achieved a world record of 58% capacity over the course of a year. The indigenous Shetland ponies are reputed for their strength and hardiness.

List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Orkney

The following is a list of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the Orkney Area of Search. For other areas, see List of SSSIs by Area of Search.


Bay of Skaill

Calf of Eday

Central Sanday, Sanday


Cruaday Quarry, Mainland

Den Wick, Mainland

Doomy and Whitemaw Hill, Eday

East Sanday Coast, Sanday


Faray and Holm of Faray

Glims Moss and Durkadale, Mainland

Holm of Papa Westray


Keelylang Hill and Swartabeck Burn, Mainland

Loch of Banks, Mainland

Loch of Isbister and The Loons, Mainland

Lochs of Harray and Stenness, Mainland

Marwick Head, Mainland

Mill Bay, Stronsay

Mill Loch, Eday

Muckle and Little Green Holm (Muckle Green Holm & Little Green Holm)

Muckle Head and Selwick, Hoy

North Hill, Papa Westray

Northwall, Sanday

Orphir and Stenness Hills, Mainland

Pentland Firth Islands (Swona and Muckle Skerry)


Stromness Heaths and Coast, Mainland

Sule Skerry

Sule Stack


Ward Hill Cliffs, South Ronaldsay


West Mainland Moorlands, Mainland

West Westray, Westray

List of islands of Italy

This is a list of islands of Italy.

List of sail emblems

The list of sail emblems consists sail emblems and their description.

Muckle Skerry

Muckle Skerry is the largest of the Pentland Skerries that lie off the north coast of Scotland. It is home to the Pentland Skerries Lighthouse.

Muckle Skerry lies in the Pentland Firth at grid reference ND464782. It is the westernmost of the skerries. At one kilometre (three-fifths of a mile) long and rising to a height of 20 metres (66 feet) above sea level is sizable enough to be considered an island. However the notoriously bad weather of the firth has historically rendered Muckle Skerry uninhabitable and as such it is more often thought of as a skerry.

Newtown Crommelin

Newtowncrommelin is a small village and civil parish in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It lies 8 miles north-northeast of Ballymena and is part of the Borough of Ballymena. The village of Newtowncrommelin was founded in the townland of Skerry (now the townlands of Skerry West and Skerry East).Ballymena, Cargan and Martinstown can be viewed from atop of Skerry Rock, which is accessible through private land, alongside the back of the Skerry Inn.

Most of the housing developments are situated along the Skerry East, Skerry West, Windy Gap, Tullykittagh and Old Cushendun Roads.

The Orange Hall in the village was destroyed in 1996 by republicans.

Pat Skerry

Patrick Joseph Skerry (born January 21, 1970) is the head coach of the Towson University Tigers men's basketball team.

Pentland Skerries

The Pentland Skerries (Old Norse: Pettlandssker) are a group of four uninhabited islands lying in the Pentland Firth, northeast of Duncansby Head and south of South Ronaldsay in Scotland.

By far the largest of the islands is Muckle Skerry, home to two lighthouses, built in 1794. The other islands lie to the south of Muckle Skerry. From west to east, they are Little Skerry, Louther Skerry and Clettack Skerry.

Sailing at the 1920 Summer Olympics – 30m² Skerry cruiser

The 30m2 Skerry Cruiser was a sailing event on the Sailing at the 1920 Summer Olympics program in Ostend. Four races were scheduled in each type. In total 3 sailors, on 1 boats, from 1 nation entered in the 30m2 Skerry cruiser.

Sailing at the 1920 Summer Olympics – 40m² Skerry cruiser

The 40m2 Skerry Cruiser was a sailing event on the Sailing at the 1920 Summer Olympics program in Ostend. Four races were scheduled in each type. In total 8 sailors, on 2 boats, from 1 nation entered in the 40m2 Skerry cruiser.

Skerry, New York

Skerry is a hamlet in the town of Brandon in Franklin County, New York, United States. It is located east of the Little Salmon River on Franklin County Highway 12 (Skerry Road) and Franklin County Highway 13 (Bangor Skerry Road). Skerry is 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Malone and 5 miles (8 km) southeast of West Bangor.

Originally the community developed around a lumber mill and other small businesses. To the north of Skerry are a number of farms. To the south are the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and extensive hardwood and softwood forests that are part of the Deer River State Forests.

Skerry Champion

Skerry Champion is a variety of potato with a round-to-oval shape and creamy yellow skin with a beautiful blue/purple "birthmark" colouring. 'Skerry Champions' have only recently become available to growers again after a long period of absence due to a host of viral diseases it was carrying. Taste quality is excellent with a lovely flavour and floury texture. They are quite highly resistant to blight however the tops of diseased haulms should be removed to keep tubers healthy. It has also been known as Buchan Beauty and although introduced into Ireland in 1922, may have existed in the UK before then.

Skerry cruiser

Skerry cruisers (or Square metre yachts) are yachts, usually wooden, which are constructed according to the Square metre rule. Originating from Sweden, they were historically most popular in the Baltic Sea, though some classes also saw popularity in other European countries and USA. Skerry cruisers are construction classes, meaning that though the boats are not identical with each other, they are all built according to same formula, making them broadly comparable in size and performance. Most skerry cruisers are slender boats, with low freeboards and tall rigs.

Sule Skerry

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

The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry

"The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry" or "The Grey Selkie of Sule Skerry" is a traditional folk song from Shetland and Orkney. A woman has her child taken away by its father, the great selkie of Sule Skerry which can transform from a seal into a human. The woman is fated to marry a gunner who will harpoon the selkie and their son.

"The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry" is a short version from the Sheltands published in the 1850s and later listed as Child ballad number 113. "The Grey Selkie of Sule Skerry" is the title of the Orcadian texts, about twice in length. There is also a greatly embellished and expanded version of the ballad called "The Lady Odivere".

Towson Tigers men's basketball

The Towson Tigers men's basketball team represents Towson University in Towson, Maryland in NCAA Division I competition. The school's team currently competes in the Colonial Athletic Association and play their home games at SECU Arena.


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