|After visiting the Ring of Brodgar dig I made my long way over to the Loch of Wasdale. Couldn't quite get across to "Counrtrywoman"s other island (HY34221517) what I shall call Wasdale 2, as I wasn't sure whether the fence I saw kept the kie out. My first sight of the edgeset stones, offshore by the wooden hut, didn't look to show any regular pattern. Carrying further along this old road brought more of them to light, ones projecting less above the water, and indicated a fairly regular spacing. Despite the fact that I saw my first ones in front of that hut they could well be more further up the shoreline as there was too much 'foam' there to make anything out. I should point out, for what it's worth that there do appear to be one or more edgeset stones on the shoreline opposite the site i.e. below the road. In Orkney one or two orthostats (or facing pairs) tend to be called 'sailors graves', and more than that is a 'graveyard', but to my eyes it is most unlikely that there has been any actual burial ground here.
Coming on to the now permanent island there is a greater depth of the causeway showing. Indeed it is passable now. But you will still need some care over the stepping stones in a few sections - rest the foot and then push off, test firmity on the centre of stones where these don't have an obvious incline. There is nothing to add about the large stones fronting the mound.
Walking around the islet it certainly seems basically artificial, even if the stonework surrounding the mound isn't yer megalithic broch style it is definitely circular and the base survives for two or more courses. This earlier site makes its presence most felt at the sides and back of the mound, where the width is least, leading me to think that the Iron Age [? Bronze Age if a crannog first] structure occupied a site more at the northern end of the islet. Behind the mound at the back what looks to be a broch age chamber still stands about a metre high (nettles prevented close inspection. On top of the mound at the back, atop a smaller mound, is the conical modern cairn. From this an older wall runs down to the chamber, to all intents and purposes a radial [not that I'm suggesting a wheelhouse for this site].
I tried unsuccessfully to find the cist in the hind part of the mound, but towards the back, to the side of the moundlet, there is a cuboid arrangement of stones covering one long one (there being an overhang my photos may not show this).
There are the lower courses of one (? two) presumably early/middle mediaeval structures to one side of the later entrance. It struck me that the later folk hoicked out the front of the earlier structure and brought it 'forward' to form their own more rectilnear site. As the causeway is some distance in front of the main earlier stuff does it really go with it ?
Despite the present state of the whole islet it could once have supported a more megalithic (broch age) set of walls - there are some great stonking stones used below the farm as a shoreline field boundary or summat that might be originally monumental.
With the present lower shoreline after taking my leave I was able to circle my subject and take shots not takeable close to. If you do this be aware your foot could get sucked in on muddier parts of the shore and by the marsh/heath edges of the field. Even had some close up shots of a pair of skuas - do not disturb. Only when climbing up onto the field did I see the kie in another corner of the field, so I moo-ved on.
Posted by wideford
26th July 2008ce