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I TAING YOU September 25th 2004

If anyone asked me what there was before there was before Kirkwall I would say Berstane. The tun goes from at least Berstane itself (overlooking Inganess Bay) to Quoyberstane (overlooking the Bay of Kirkwall), with the three-headed beast to the north (Head of Holland, Head of Work, Car Ness).

By the road above Quoyberstane is another one of those big wooden posts in a former stone's setting. My task today was to go and check up on the North Taing Cairn. From a distance. Going up the Head of Work road almost up to the water board's no entry sign. Another longing look at Long Cairn, waiting till the grass dies down a bit to visit it. Then looking over to the Head of Holland. Last time I had been here I'd dismissed a rise at the end as simply an illusion caused by a minor headland arc. Now I was armed with the proper info it was obviously the cairn HY48971233 seen end on.
It is described as semi-circular and the possible walling once seen is now known to be an earthen bank. 'In the flesh' it is more of a stretched D. Which to my mind puts it in the class of semi-broch. These were said to be exactly as the phrase says, with the cliff taking the place of a man-made wall in a normal construction. Nowadays they are dismissed as being simply the usual broch with its back end destroyed by erosion. But if this were the remains of a semi-broch it would prove that the class really exists, as at North Taing the cliff-face does not appear to fulfill the function of a rear wall and it is instead open to the landward side.
I was looking down a long line of fences and decided to turn my back on them to look in the exact opposite direction. Not expecting anything imagine my surprise to be pointing straight at the Crossietown settlement. On CANMAP this line also passes through the site of Blackhall above Weyland Bay, with Castlegreen just to the north of this (and along the short piece of road where the Carness road turns up before making another turn for Castlegreen and Car Ness). Probably signifying nothing. A line from Long Cairn to Crossietown passes through the Carness farmstead.

I have a feeling that something should be in the vicinity of Cleat Farm as the long low rise abouthands of it otherwise 'hides' Inganess Bay from view. Down at the Bay of Weyland I saw a young couple walking by the shore who appeared to be looking at the rocks in places. Geologists or archaeologists perhaps. Most of the shore is a mess, a dumping ground for stone of all ages from all over. I would love someone to do a geofizz of the turf here, there has to be some good stuff here. But even away from the shore I expect instrumentation or digging could well just bring a little more confusion alas.

wideford Posted by wideford
27th September 2004ce

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