Barrel of Butter

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For the literal meaning, see barrel (unit) and butter.
Barrel of Butter
The navigation light on Barrel of Butter
The navigation light on Barrel of Butter
Barrel of Butter is located in Orkney Islands
Barrel of Butter
Barrel of Butter
Barrel of Butter shown within Orkney
OS grid reference HY351008
Island group Orkney
Local Authority Orkney Islands
Flag of Scotland.svg Lymphad3.svg
References [1][2]

The Barrel of Butter, formerly known as Carlin Skerry, is a skerry situated in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands.

Geography and geology[edit]

The rock is old red sandstone of the Devonian period. There is no soil of any significance on it.[1]

Located in Scapa Flow, between Mainland and Cava, it has a section permanently above sea level. It is to the north east of Cava, and south of Orphir. It is also north of Flotta.


Formerly known as Carlin Skerry,[3] the rock gained its strange name, not from its shape, or position, as is often the case, but from the annual rent paid on it, by the residents of Orphir. In return for a barrel of butter per year, they gained permission from the local laird to hunt the seals on it.[1]

On 21 June 1919, the waters between the Barrel of Butter and Cava became full of scuttled German ships, including the SMS Bayern, Markgraf, Cöln, Dresden and König. Some of these are still popular with divers.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7. 
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey. Get-a-map (Map). 1:25,000. Leisure. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  3. ^ "The Barrel of Butter". Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme. Retrieved 2014-09-08. 

Coordinates: 58°53′26″N 3°07′34″W / 58.8905°N 3.126°W / 58.8905; -3.126