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Balta, Shetland facts for kids

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Norse name Baltey
OS grid reference HP661081
Coordinates 60°44′59″N 0°47′28″W / 60.749746°N 0.791144°W / 60.749746; -0.791144
Physical geography
Island group Shetland
Area 80 ha (198 acres)
Area rank 162 
Highest elevation 44 m (144 ft)
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Shetland Islands
Population 0

Balta (Scots: Balta; Old Norse: "Baltey") is an uninhabited island in Shetland, Scotland.


Balta lies off the east coast of Unst and Balta Sound. It has an area of 80 hectares (200 acres).

There is a natural arch on the eastern side of the island.

Balta Island Seafare and Skaw Smolts are the most northerly fish farm and fish hatchery in Britain.


Historic remains on the island include the ruins of a broch and of a Norse chapel dedicated to Saint Sunniva. There are no census records of more recent inhabitation.

John MacCulloch visited Balta in May 1820 to carry out the Trigonometrical Survey for the Ordnance Survey. Balta was the northernmost station of the zenith sector.


The Balta Light, at the southern tip of the island was one of the first concrete structures in Shetland. The lighthouse was designed by David Stevenson and built in 1895. It was demolished in 2003 and replaced by a small solar-powered light.

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