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Achvarasdal

Broch

Fieldnotes

Visited: June 29, 2018

Just a few hundred metres from the village of Reay on Scotland's far north lies one of the largest brochs in Scotland: Achvadadsal. After heading east on the A836 out of Reay, the road dog-legs sharply northward. Almost immediately, turn right following the road for about 600 metres and park outside the woodland surrounding Achvadadsal Care Home. It's just a short walk along woodland paths, following 'broch' signs, to the broch.

Achvaradsal Broch is, in area, one of the largest in Scotland with a court diameter of 9.8 metres. The interior of the broch was excavated during the latter part of the 19th century, but the external wall face was not cleared, and remains concealed beneath a sizable vegetated mound. The walling, which rises to 1.6 metres above the central court, is composed in the main of quite small slabs of light-coloured sandstone, giving an appearance rather like brickwork. Achvaradsal has a most impressive, quite narrow entrance passage, a little short of 4 metres long on its east-south-east.

At the time of my visit, the broch was besieged by a major infestation of Giant Hogweed. Even with a walking pole fully extended above me, I could not quite reach the hogweed's flowering heads, which must therefore have been at least 4 metres tall. Achvaradsal is one of the brochs promoted by the Caithness Boch Project, whom I contacted about the problem. They replied that they were aware of the situation and would be taking measures to tackle it. I'm pleased to report that, just three weeks later, I was sent a photograph showing that clearance work had begun. Hogweed, however, is not easy to erradicate, particularly if it has been seeding the area for years, so it may take several seasons to render the site hogweed-free.

You can read much more about Achvarasdal Broch on the Canmore website, including details of finds from the site.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
11th August 2018ce
Edited 28th August 2018ce

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