The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

The Barrel of Butter

The Barrel of Butter is a red sandstone rock sandwiched between the island of Cava and Orkney's West Mainland, three miles south-east of Houton.

Originally the skerry was called Carlin but became known as the Barrel of Butter because people from the parish of Orphir paid an annual rent of a barrel of butter to its laird for the right to hunt the seals, which haul out on the rock.

There is a small lighthouse, a conical masonry tower topped by a small platform and a light on top of a small mast. The lighthouse came into service in 1853 when a metal cage was atop the tower as a port-hand beacon. The light was added in 1980.

The tower was once mistaken for a submarine conning tower and was shelled by the British Navy. The Barrel of Butter. (c) SFLPS.