Ancient Monuments

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Skerry Battery, coast battery (WW2) 460m NNE of Bu

A Scheduled Monument in Stromness and South Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 58.9274 / 58°55'38"N

Longitude: -3.3259 / 3°19'33"W

OS Eastings: 323761

OS Northings: 1005216

OS Grid: HY237052

Mapcode National: GBR L544.C4X

Mapcode Global: WH6B0.WWD1

Entry Name: Skerry Battery, coast battery (WW2) 460m NNE of Bu

Scheduled Date: 17 December 2014

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13525

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: 20th Century Military and Related: Battery

Location: Hoy and Graemsay

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Traditional County: Orkney


The monument is the remains of a coastal artillery battery and associated accommodation camp, established in 1940 and used during the Second World War. It is visible as the remains of a series of concrete structures, huts and hut bases. It forms part of a network of coastal batteries built to defend the key strategic British naval anchorage of Scapa Flow. This battery was one of five covering the western route into the Flow and is located on the coast at Burraquoy in NE Hoy at about 15m above sea level, overlooking the shipping channels of Hoy Sound to the N and Burra Sound to the E.

The main battery comprises two 12-pounder gun emplacements, with a battery observation post, crew shelter, magazine, two searchlight emplacements and engine house. The former accommodation camp is located immediately SW of the battery. It survives as a series of at least 10 hut bases in a variety of forms, along with two surviving huts and elements of the water storage facilities.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction and use is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of the electric wire fence.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, specifically, the network of defences constructed in the Second World War to defend the key strategic harbour of Scapa Flow. This is a well-preserved example of a coast battery, showing a wide range of remains of this site type. Its significance is enhanced by the presence of rare features, such as the wooden fittings and internal decoration. The monument offers considerable potential to study the relationship between the various elements of the site, and to enhance our understanding both of the western Scapa Flow defences and the wider defences in place around Orkney and beyond. These monumental concrete structures are a tangible and powerful reminder of one of the defining events of the 20th century. If this monument was to be lost or damaged, it would significantly affect our ability to understand the nature and scale of the efforts made to defend Britain against enemy naval threats in the Second World War and diminish the association between Orcadians today and those who lived and served in Orkney during the war.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Other information

RCAHMS records the monument as HY20NW 25.


Brown I 2002, 20th Century Defences in Britain: an Introductory Guide, Council for British Archaeology, York.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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