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Bioda Mor (Stone Fort / Dun) — Links

Canmore


Respect to whoever took these photographs.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2017ce

Bioda Mor (Stone Fort / Dun) — Fieldnotes

The final prehistoric sight and site of this St Kilda visit would be the fort at Bioda Mor. This is a truly spectacular place, rugged cliffs, natural archways and thousands upon thousands of seabirds including, our favourites, the puffins. To make sure nobody would get lost this island is aptly named Dun.

From our vantage point at The Lovers Rock we could see where the fort was situated on the western side. Nearer The Milking stone we could see the fort from the bay/eastern side. It is a truly remarkable site. Earlier I had asked if I could scramble across to Dun but was given a polite but stern answer of no. However it can be arranged, possibly the next visit.

We sailed from the small pier at Hirta, glimpsing the quarries at Clash Na Bearnaich on the way. Nothing can really prepare you for the scenery about to appear. Nothing can stop the feelings of immense respect for the builders as they have literally built on sheer cliff face. Defensive walls can clearly be seen built various places. Nearer the centre of the island this wall is over 2m wide and 1.5m high. Fallen walls can be seen clinging to the cliffs on the bay side way above us and the sea.

This was stunning enough but even more stunning are the views around Stacc Lee, Stacc An Armin and the island of Boreray, another place I need to find a way onto. Each of them nave their sad and inspiring stories to tell. Then we set sail to the east on the amazingly calm Atlantic Ocean back to Leverburgh. As we neared the ferry port the standing stones at Borvemore, Nisabost and on the island of Ensay could just about be seen, Ensay being clearly visible. Had the ancient peoples built a type of light house? I don't know but they certainly told us that land and safety was near.

Viewed 2/9/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2017ce

Clash Na Bearnaich (Ancient Mine / Quarry) — Links

Canmore


More pictures of a truly stunning site.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2017ce

Clash Na Bearnaich (Ancient Mine / Quarry) — Fieldnotes

One of the main places I wanted to visit on St Kilda was the quarry at Clash Na Bearnaich aka The Chimney. Sadly we'd ran out of time but not out of scenery. The extremely knowledgeable crew pointed out the quarries as we sailed towards the fort at Bioda Mor.

As the photos show the quarry faces are quite high up the face of the hill. Walking due south of The Milking will be the route I'll take to get a closer look during our next visit. On the way I'll be able to look at the quarry at Gearraidh Ard. It all points to there being a sizeable pre Iron Age population.

Viewed 2/9/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2017ce

Tobar Childa (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

After the life changing events at the Lover's Stone it was time to make our way via the wall/path to the tarred road. It was either head further uphill heading north east or head downhill and east towards the village, not Hirta but the Iron Age hut circles of Tobar Childa. We headed towards Tobar Childa as time was running out as we needed to be back at the pier.

So downhill we headed which enabled us to see the absolutely stunning views again. The weather had started to get even warmer, unbelievable considering the tales of bad weather we'd been told about. Just to the south of the Abhainn Mhor burn we headed straight east to the hut circles. These are hard to find because of the sheer amount of gray rock lying about, they certainly had no shortage of building material. I remained to look for the ancient village whilst A headed to the pier.

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This appeared to be a group of 4 hut circles the best of which I photographed. The hut had large stones surrounding its edge and is about 4m in diameter. Harsh place to live during winter possibly, however a lot of people told us that the climate wasn't so remote and the islands weren't so isolated as they were to become.

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This group seemed to have the best built hut circle making use of a depression, perhaps man made, on which to build their wall. Almost all the hut circles in these groups are about 4m in diameter and this was no exception.

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This was to be last stop on mainland St Kilda as A was shouting (probably louder than that) from the Main Street that people were assembling at the pier. NF10099948 had the largest of the surrounding walls. These were almost 1.5m wide and almost 0.75 tall.

Sadly two hut circle groups missed but I'll visit them the next time we're here. With that it was a mad dash through various cleits, enclosures, houses (ancient and more modern) and walls to the eastern end of Main Street.

Visited 2/9/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2017ce

Lover's Stone (Natural Rock Feature) — Fieldnotes

With the fairies being very shy we followed the road to the west climbing steeply as we went. You could only marvel at the views to the east especially the stunning setting of Bioda Mor, home to the fort.

At the top the road splits heading north and south, we continued west on top of an old wall/path. From this point you can see the equally stunning Loch a' Ghlinne (Glen Bay). The path is a mixture of well trodden and bog. Also in some parts there are little bits of rock climbing which all added to the adventure except when, not for the first time, I used my knees as brakes.

Eventually the path evens itself out and leads straight to another of the islands famous sites - The Lover's Stone. Resembling the highest diving board I've ever seen its an impressive site. It also reminded me of the Reporting Scotland (news program) logo. Stories of how the St Kildan men did their balancing acts are well known. As this link shows they were brave men.

https://scotlandonscreen.org.uk/browse-films/007-000-000-153-c

I, of course, did exactly the same thing with an excellent result.

Despite the wonderful scenery, and there is a tremendous sense of well being and sadness here, it is a dangerous place. The weather can change in an instant with high winds and squally showers at any moment. For those with problems with heights I wouldn't look over the edge it is a helluva drop.

Probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

Visited 2/9/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
18th September 2017ce

The Milking Stone (Natural Rock Feature) — Fieldnotes

The House Of Fairies was minus its inhabitants so we decided to follow them to their other hiding place The Milking Stone. We headed slightly south west, to the tarred road and followed it as it went steeply uphill. The stone is situated near the first large corner on the road.

After hearing no rattling spoons we reckoned it was safe to approach as the fairies had obviously moved on. There are glorious views of the villages of Hirta, prehistoric and the more modern, Hirta Bay, island of Levenish (a stac) and the magnificent cliffs of Bioda Mor, home to a fort. A stunning scene with the weather to match.

Resembling a recumbent stone it is about 4m long, 1.5m wide and 1.5 tall.

As we continued up hill I'm sure I heard the clinking of cutlery behind me. When I looked around there was an army vehicle just about to overtake us.

Visited 2/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
14th September 2017ce

House Of The Fairies (Souterrain) — Fieldnotes

Walk north west from the burnt mound, past the houses and graveyard. Look carefully for a hole in the ground. This might seem easy but it isn't. Behind the village, indeed the whole of the natural amphitheatre, is covered in rocks all of which are the same colour.

The House Of The Fairies is one of St Kilda's most famous sites. Its north end is covered in grass whilst the southern end has its lintels exposed. Sadly the hole which can be seen is a hole in the roof which is half way along the original structure. Agriculture and dyke building has seen the other stones removed and the former southern end filled in. To get into the 9m remnants is easy enough and their is enough room for taller people to get to the end hunched down. About 5m from the entrance there is a small passage heading north east. Even at the entrance there seems to have been passages going in both directions, these might have been a wall that has been long since removed.

The fairies must have been nervous and decided to hide from view. Perhaps they'd gone to The Milking Stone, which we were going to next. It was a privilege to see and enter this site. A real taste of the prehistoric times and a good chance to appreciate their building skills.

Visited 2/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
14th September 2017ce

Village Bay (Burnt Mound / Fulacht Fia) — Fieldnotes

Just a few metres to the west of the cist is a wall and on the other side of this can be found the remnants of a burnt mound. The oval shaped site is 20m by 10m and set in what appears to be waste ground, for much later settlers, near a consumption dyke. At its highest it is no more than 0.4m.

If you look closely in the walls burnt and broken pebbles can be seen and I agree with Canmore that there must have been several of these mounds, as there must have been cists whose stones probably provided lintels for the village houses.

Once again it is an indicator that the prehistoric people had a better time of it than later settlers. It certainly proves that they had a wider food choice.

After this we had to visit the faeries and their house.

Visited 2/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
12th September 2017ce

Village Bay (Cist) — Fieldnotes

When walking along Hirta Main Street keep a count of the houses and look for houses 7 and 8. Follow the wall that marks their plot border towards Hirta Bay until it stops, a few yards in front is the remnants of the cist. That is the easy way, I on the other hand decided that almost every neuk and crannie had to be explored.

Not much remains except for some stones set on edge, the loose lintels have probably been placed in one of the nearby walls.

When you look up and all round from this location you can see what a huge amphitheatre this place is, just how high the hills are and just how good the prehistoric folks nautical skills were. Then a helicopter interrupts, look slightly to the east and the view is of large tanks of the fuel variety. Prehistory and modern life in the space of a second.

Visited 2/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
12th September 2017ce
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