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Muckle Roe

Muckle Roe

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Muckle Roe
Norse name Rauðøy Mikla[1]
Meaning of name big red island

Muckle Ayre Beach
Muckle Roe
Muckle Roe shown within the Shetland Islands
OS grid reference HU317650
Coordinates 60°22′N 1°25.5′W / 60.367°N 1.4250°W / 60.367; -1.4250Coordinates: 60°22′N 1°25.5′W / 60.367°N 1.4250°W / 60.367; -1.4250
Physical geography
Island group Shetland
Area 1,773 hectares (6.8 sq mi)
Area rank 37 [3]
Highest elevation Mid Ward 172 metres (564 ft)[2]
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Shetland Islands
Population 130[4]
Population rank 43 [3]
Population density 7.3people/km2[4][5]
Largest settlement Roesound
References [2][5][6][7]
Muckle Roe Lighthouse
Swarbacks Minn
Muckle Roe Lighthouse
Location Shetland, Scotland, United Kingdom
Coordinates 60°20′57″N 1°27′03″W / 60.349232°N 1.450732°W / 60.349232; -1.450732
Year first constructed 1897 (first)
Year first lit 2001 (current)
Deactivated 2001 (first)
Foundation concrete base
Construction metal skeletal tower (current)
cast iron tower (first)
Tower shape quadrangular tower covered by aluminium panels with light on the top (current)
octagonal tower with balcony and lantern
Markings / pattern white tower
Height 7 metres (23 ft) (current)
8 metres (26 ft) (first)
Focal height 30 metres (98 ft) (current)
Original lens 3rd order Fresnel lens (first)
Light source solar power (current)
Characteristic Fl WR 3s.[8]
Admiralty number A3844
NGA number 3552
ARLHS number SCO-141
Managing agent Northern Lighthouse Board[9]

Muckle Roe is an island in Shetland, Scotland, in St. Magnus Bay, to the west of Mainland, Shetland. It has a population of around 130 people, who mainly croft and live in the south east of the island.[7][10]

'Muckle' is Scots for 'big' or 'great'.


The island is referred to in the Orkneyinga saga.[11]

In 1905 a bridge was built between Muckle Roe and the Shetland Mainland over Roe Sound at a cost of £1,020 met from public subscription and a grant from the Congested Districts Board. The construction was of iron and concrete[7][12] and its completion was followed by a reversal in the population decline seen in the 19th and earlier 20th centuries. A replacement bridge was built in 1999.

Muckle Roe was part of the civil parish of Delting until the abolition of civil parishes in Scotland by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929.

Geography and geology

Muckle Roe is approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) in diameter, with high cliffs in the south. Its highest point is Mid Ward 172 metres (564 ft).

The island's rock is red granite,[10] which gives the island its name – a combination of Scots and Old Norse meaning "big red island".[5][7]

There are crofts in the east and south east. The rest of the island is lochan-studded moorland.[13]


Muckle Roe population
1851 290
1871 216
1881 230
1961 103
1971 94
1981 101
1991 115
2001 104
2011 130
source: [4][5]

See also


  1. ^ Waugh (2007) p. 541
  2. ^ a b Ordnance Survey. OS Maps Online (Map). 1:25,000. Leisure. 
  3. ^ a b 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.
  4. ^ a b c 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.
  5. ^ a b c d Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 406
  6. ^ Fraser, Allen (2002) The Edinburgh Geologist: Old Norse and Norn names in Shetland. Issue 39 Archived 16 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d Keay & Keay, (1994) p. 711
  8. ^ Muckle Roe marinetraffic.com. Retrieved 31 May 2016
  9. ^ Muckle Roe (Swarbacks Minn) The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 31 May 2016
  10. ^ a b Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 440
  11. ^ Anderson, Joseph (Ed.) (1893) Orkneyinga Saga. Translated by Jón A. Hjaltalin & Gilbert Goudie. Edinburgh. James Thin and Mercat Press (1990 reprint). ISBN 0-901824-25-9
  12. ^ Nicolson (1972) p. 108
  13. ^ "Overview of Muckle Roe". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 


  • Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7. 
  • Keay, J. & Keay, J. (1994) Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland. London. HarperCollins.
  • Nicolson, James R. (1972) Shetland. Newton Abbott. David & Charles.
  • Waugh, Doreen "Placing Papa Stour in Context" in Ballin Smith, Beverley; Taylor, Simon; and Williams, Gareth (2007) West over Sea: Studies in Scandinavian Sea-Borne Expansion and Settlement Before 1300. Leiden. Brill. ISBN 97890-04-15893-1

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