David and Thomas Stevenson, 1857-8. 7-stage lighthouse tower of circular plan, tapering to lantern. Bull-faced ashlar base with smooth-rendered finish to tower walls and margins, all painted. Recessed ladder accessing deeply recessed door to W side; narrow window to each stage above (wider at 2nd floor), band course below balcony corbelled out to cast iron handrail surrounding upper stage comprising cylindrical murette with portholes and door; cast-iron cleaning path around lantern above with triangular-pane glazing, surmounted by dome with ventilator at apex.
Statement of Special Interest
The lighthouse cost ?21,000 to build which was 90% above Stevenson's original estimate. The lighthouse had its internal timber fittings removed during automistation in 1972. The keeper's houses, stores, and boat house are on neighbouring Grunay (see separate listing).
The Out Skerries are an archipelago in Shetland, Scotland, lying to the east of the main Shetland Island group. Locally, they are usually called Da Skerries or just Skerries.
The Out Skerries lie about four miles north east of Whalsay and Bound Skerry forms the easternmost part of Scotland, lying 320 kilometers (200 mi) from Norway. The main islands are Housay, Bruray and Grunay.
Loch on Housay
A large number of islets and stacks surround the main group. These include the Hevda Skerries and Wether Holm to the north, the Holm to the south and Lamba Stack and Flat Lamba Stack to the east. Stoura Stack and the Hogg are to the south of Grunay. Bound Skerry, which has a lighthouse, is flanked by Little Bound Skerry and Horn Skerry.
Beyond Mio Ness at the south west tip of Housay are North and South Benelip and the Easter Skerries, as well as Filla, Short & Long Guen (the Guens), Bilia Skerry, and Swaba Stack. In an isolated group between the main Out Skerries and the Mainland, are Little Skerry and the Vongs, and Muckle Skerry is another outlier lying further north.
Most of the Skerries placenames have a Norse origin. The "Out" name derives from one or both of two Old Norse words. Austr means "east" and may have been used to distinguish Out Skerries from Ve Skerries or "west skerries", and utsker means "outer". "Skerry" is from the Old Norse sker and refers to a small rocky island or a rocky reef.
Housay is from the Old Norse Húsey meaning "horse island" although this name is now little used by locals, who prefer "West Isle". Bruray may be from the Norse brú and mean "bridge island" due to its position between West Isle and Grunay, the latter meaning simply "green island". The derivation of Bound Skerry is more problematic but may be from bønn, meaning "forerunner", a reference to this being the first land a vessel encounters en route to Shetland from Bergen.
The first light was a temporary structure built on the island of Grunay in 1854 at the request of Her Majesty's Navy when their Northern Squadron was engaged in the Russian War. The light was first established on 15 September 1854. The permanent building was completed on the island of Bound Skerry in 1858. The tower is 98 foot high and the candlepower 159,000. During World War 2 the Lighthouse Buildings at the Shore Station were machine-gunned on 22 February 1941, fortunately on this occasion no one was injured. On 18 January 1942, a Sunday, at 11.45am a single enemy bomber approached the island from a westerly direction at low level and passed directly over the Lighthouse dwelling houses. One or two bombs were dropped, missed the buildings and fell in the sea. The raider made a wide circle to the east, returning over the Lighthouse Buildings and dropped another bomb which registered a direct hit on the Boatman's house. The house was completely demolished and the sole occupant at the time, the Boatman's mother, was buried beneath the debris, sustaining injuries from which she died at Lerwick on 20 January 1942. Other damage on this raid was as follows - Boatman's wash house and coal cellar demolished, dwelling houses of Lightkeepers and out-buildings etc completely destroyed or otherwise badly damaged. The flagpole was damaged and the framework of the base was also badly shaken.