Brother Isle

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Brother Isle
Norse name breiðare øy
Meaning of name broad 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 reference HU425815
Coordinates 60°31′N 1°13′W / 60.52°N 1.22°W / 60.52; -1.22
Physical geography
Island group Shetland
Area 40 hectares (99 acres)
Area rank 220= [1]
Highest elevation 25 metres (82 ft)
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Shetland Islands
Population 0[2]
References [3][4]

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) (pdf) Statistical Bulletin: 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland - Release 1C (Part Two). "Appendix 2: Population and households on Scotland’s inhabited islands". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7. 
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey. Get-a-map (Map). 1:25,000. Leisure. Retrieved 21 August 2013. [dead link]

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