Brother Isle

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Brother Isle
Old Norse namebreiðare øy
Meaning of namebroad beach island
West end of Brother Isle
West end of Brother Isle
Brother Isle is located in Shetland
Brother Isle
Brother Isle
Brother Isle shown within Shetland
OS grid referenceHU425815
Coordinates60°31′N 1°13′W / 60.52°N 1.22°W / 60.52; -1.22
Physical geography
Island groupShetland
Area40 hectares (99 acres)
Area rank220= [1]
Highest elevation25 metres (82 ft)
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Council areaShetland Islands

Brother Isle (Old Norse: breiðare øy meaning broad beach island) is a small, uninhabited island in Shetland, Scotland. It lies between the islands of Yell and Shetland Mainland. It is 40 hectares (99 acres) in size.

Geography and geology[edit]

The island's rock is "undifferentiated moine gneiss and quartzite."[3]


It is sometimes assumed that the "Brother" in the name refers to Culdees/papar who were frequent inhabitants of the smaller islands, however, in this case there is no apparent evidence for this claim, and it would appear to be merely folk etymology.

At only 40 hectares in size (about 1/6 of a sq. mile) and surrounded by tidal rips which make landing difficult, it would seem unlikely that the island has ever been inhabited. However, Brother Isle was inhabited until the 1820s, latterly by brothers with the surname Tulloch. This led to the mistaken assumption that the island's name referred to them.

In 2004, a lighthouse was built on the island.


  1. ^ Area and population ranks: there are c. 300 islands over 20 ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
  2. ^ National Records of Scotland (15 August 2013). "Appendix 2: Population and households on Scotland's Inhabited Islands" (PDF). Statistical Bulletin: 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland Release 1C (Part Two) (PDF) (Report). SG/2013/126. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey. OS Maps Online (Map). 1:25,000. Leisure.

Coordinates: 60°30′54″N 1°13′40″W / 60.51489°N 1.22783°W / 60.51489; -1.22783