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Broch My World; my Orcadian sites with suspects

I seem to associate these tower remains with the coast, and so assume that Stackrue Lyking at the top of the Loch of Stenness dates from before the Brig o'Waithe crossed this body of water at the Bay of Ireland (and the same argument would go for the Knowe of Redland and Biggings Broch). The Lochview Cairn is well-placed at the Bridge of Brodgar between the Stenness and Harray lochs, The Howe and Cummi Howe [HY282104] covered either side where the Bay Of Ireland narrows ahead of the Brig o'Waithe. There was a broch at the Bu of Gairston [HY272097] further down the Stromness side of the Bay Of Ireland but it seems a little strange that there isn't even the suggestion of one over in Stromness itself.
There are no signs of a broch over at Kirkwall either, though the presence of two souterrains on Hatston Brae would make that a likely spot. Over at Scapa Bay was the Broch of Lingro alongside the distillery (pre-emptively bulldozed in 1980 though there are still mounds suggestive of settlement between there and the area beside the stream on the other side of the Orphir road. And the distillery outflow has some interesting stuff going on). Roughly halfway between Kirkwall and Finstown there is one over by Ingashowe (a name showing just how far Inga's dominion lay - Inganess Bay being the other side of Kirkwall) [HY390128]. Of the three headlands beyond Kirkwall it is possible that there was another at the Head of Holland. Unfortunately this is a very difficult site to interpret, much of which is due to extensive medieval, and perhaps earlier, quarrying (when I first moved to Kirkwall this was pointed out to me as the cathedral quarry even though most of the better stone came outwith Mainland Orkney, and it even now is used for restorations). On the outskirts of town down below Berstane House are the remains of another broch [HY475100] at the Taing of Berstane (the Brough on the map is not this). Did try to find it once but lucked out.
The next broch that I know of locally is near the bottom end of the Loch of Tankerness. Despite having been this way several times I have only just visited the Howie of the Manse which if a big broch could have overlooked Mill Sand. There doesn't appear to be anything covering entry to Deer Sound either in Tankerness or Deerness, though I see there is Eves Howe [HY549061] by Eves Loch not that far inside that could have 'caught' persons rounding Mirkady Point and Point of Od. There is meant to be a broch at Mine Howe of which I am doubtful it could have watched the coast directly owing to Muckle Crofty hill intervening. Just past Toab lies Campston Broch. Further along yet is Dingieshowe Broch, having on one side of it the shelter of St.Peter's Pool and directly overlooking Taracliff Bay, over to Copinsay and various holms (islets basically) in the sea close by.
Going across Mainland to St.Mary's Bay one finds (but I haven't yet!) a broch at the top of the Loch of Ayre [HY470014] just as you come down into the village of St.Mary's. This has a view of the Southern Isles.
Of course I mustn't leave out the Broch of Gurness area where several brochs look as if they 'face off to' Rousay, including one much overlain by later features down at Tingwall where you catch the ferry to Rousay. And to complete my personal list there is Oxtro Broch up in Birsay from which is seen both the Bay of Birsay and the top end of the Loch of Boardhouse.
Were Orcadian brochs as close together around the rest of the Orkney Mainland coast as they are in the stretch of coastline opposite Rousay, is my coastal distribution an accident of island topography or what sites I have reached. Was there a fairly regular spacing or were some covering larger areas. These are the original questions behind my weblog reduced to a mere footnote, so pixie-led and pixellated have I been.
P.S. I have just learnt of probable locations for my 'missing' brochs from a professional archaeologist. In Kirkwall excavations abouthands of St.Magnus Cathedral (which used to have the shoreline lapping near it) revealed large subterranean passages. And excavations in Stromness at Graham Place gave strong broch indications too. Neither of these are visible now, naturally.

wideford Posted by wideford
7th February 2004ce
Edited 14th July 2004ce

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