|Coming down the Muddisdale track (the farm a likely looking site for a Viking borg) I thought to essay the Pickaquoy mound now I had a better idea where it lay. Looking across the pitch behind the Pickaquoy Centre I could see the likely candidate in the nearby field, just along from the Centre. So I went through the side gate and struck across to the diametrically opposite corner where I came to a burn I never thought to find, running by the lower boundary. Holding the field wall carefully I swung myself around and slide between two fence lines, so avoiding any pitfalls the grassy bank might hold. Going to the mound I passed over running water and several low humps and ?ditches, making this site feels very much like the remains of a settlement Amongst these I thought I detected an entrance way coming from uphill. I am reminded of the hollow curve across the Knowe of Geoso, also said to be from quarrying, though that is more geometric (also better defined) and far deeper. In one place it is denuded, showing only bare earth. But approaching from Muddisdale in what remains of the actual mound can be seen an excavation trench from last century that resembles burnt mound material, though the red stones amidst the black earth at the top of this section are rather small to my mind (being only a couple of inches or so across it seemed to me - certainly not of an order with those in the middeny material of the cliff-face below Scapa Distillery). At least one slice taken across the main body of the mound is still evident. From the top of the mound you can see the mill buidings where once was only a sand bar, so this place was once near the water's edge just as the IA settlement in front of what is now St.Magnus Cathedral used to be (even in Viking times boats landed before where the cathedral now stands) . The other side of the mound is very marshy, my feet submerging several times before reaching the comparative solidity of the field boundary I can understand why there used to be a ford nearer the Peerie Sea. So was this formerly a stream junction ? Having said which this is still the easier entry point - coming along the Pickaquoy road from the supermarkets take the track turning off for Polrudden Guest House and the field gate is the other side of the modern mound at your left.
Posted by wideford
28th December 2005ce