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ING TROUBLE September 5th 2004

An old article by Evan McGillvray in "The Orcadian" on "The Vanished Brochs And Borgs" of Kirkwall begins by mentioning how the town was ringed by brochs and borgs. These he names as;
Work Farm HY47471350 (material dumped in 1963 at HY47691359) ,
Berstane HY47521002 ,
Inganess HY39031277 (if Ingshowe) ,
?Hillhead HY44720855 (demoted since 1946 from probable fort, in a field called "The Well Park", to mere 75x55 yard enclosure)
Lingro HY43450878 ,
Tofts Farm HY43640936 (the Brough of Harbuster) ,
Pickaquoy (?Muddisdale HY43611089).

On my way down to the Sand of Wideford, usually referred to as Inganess, I mused on what Inganess Broch might be if not Ingshowe :-
First candidate at the Head of Holland the North Taing Cairn HY48971233 (with earthfast stones 10m to NW running up clifftop) only a semi-circle now, or else the much disturbed quarry at HY48971208.
Not far from Berstane Broch is a natural feature called Brough HY47420965 that many millenia hence will be a very short arch or else a rockstack. A difficult ridge to it and not really big enough to have ever held a structure methinks.
Coming down to 'Inganess beach' (the Sand of Wideford) on the section of road between the reservoir track and the farm of Inganess looking to the left is a familiar broch shape. Further down looking back uphill the three elements resolve themselves into several side by side mounds with earth exposed HY469095-6. These could well be the two or three low tumuli Petrie Notes near Towerhill (in one of which a 1.7m cist held a crouched burial) though they are the same distance from Inganess farm. This could explain the failure in locating RCAHMS NMRS record no. HY40NE 2 at Towerhill HY463095.
Down in the valley Grimsquoy could be several man-made mounds or one large one very heavily quarried and then later re-shaped, rather than mainly natural as they say. The sheepfold was made of stones taken from two of the present mounds which reminds me slightly of Point of Buckquoy Mound 1/A. At the east end of the beach does Howe Clett among the rocks refer to Grimsquoy or a long since gone mound on the coast above this feature ?
Further around above a sub-bay the Essonquoy Mound HY49010838 lies inside the airport fence among natural mounds, distinguished by several large slabs. Unfortunately I haven't managed to spot it from the path.
Further around, where a double line occurs before the disused ship dock, was the approximate position of a group of mounds called The Roondles HY495090.
Using the common association of brochs and earthhouses I note the Yinstay Souterrain HY50841031, excavated in 1906 next to a survey cairn (the original entrance was not found). A standing stone may once have been nearby.

Beyond the Sand of Essonquoy you come to a place where the internal airport road emerges to carry on towards Tankerness. Where it turns to go uphill (up the hill mostly buried stones line left the first straight of road) there is a part of the shore where small boats go down. Between here (from roughly HY49480876) and HY49460895 (about where The Roondles were) is a stretch of standing stones. Last time I went I made out a pattern along the coastal edge of tall, two short, tall, two short. Today the grass was too tall to locate smaller stones. First some distance from the road turn I saw one only 0.9x0.4m, 3.3m from a fence pillar. About 55m further on the next is at right angles, 1.1x0.5m with a 'bobble' on top. Thirty-odd metres away a low one 0.4x0.3. 5.1m further on a utility-blade shape 1.2x0.4m. The last two are another 70m away. These are on the shore and at right angles. The first is 2.9m from the coastal edge and 1x0.4x0.1m. 5m from this is a utility blade shape 1.2x0.3m, not quite aligned to the first. Definitely a full stop to the array of standing stones.

I continued past the ship dock to the small headland below Weethick Farm, when I felt constrained by time not to try for Long Ayre and the noosts. Tide still quite a ways out. Coming back I made out a heap of stones far away at the water's edge. The way they seemed arranged aroused my curiosity. So I strolled over. Not an illusion from a fault plane, definitely piled up stuff. Not gravelly bits and not beachy rocks. Hefty blighters. All half-a-metre or more. Various shapes, some slab-like and several coloured rounded boulders. All I could think of was someone droppped anchor there. Very rum. Back along the beach I picked up a long contoured stone, only slightly longer than my hand, that fitted into my palm to the manner born. Had I found some tool I wondered. But I had no-one to confer with, and being sure of short shrift if I took it to anyone knowledgeable regretfully left it behind. A little further on I picked up a very small boulder that had graded colours, black to red to natural as if it had been against some ancient fire and tempered by it. Remembering the stone pile I thought burnt mound thoughts. Just fancy I guess. Thinking back on it now The Roondles are a likelier connection - this last fortnight I have read several instances of dismembered sites having their material dumped on the shore.

On my walk I mistook buoys or some wicker object for the heads of a seal or seals, too still to fool me though. Only now I looked through my binoculars again and the eyes had it. Static head now turned and watched me, silent watcher of my discoveries uncovered. Another day sealed.

wideford Posted by wideford
24th September 2004ce

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