The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Cummi Howe

Broch (Destroyed)


The mound is outside of the field fence, an unenclosure. Coming from Unstan I thought of going along the coastline but I reckon Dead Sand could well be quicksands, and the land beyond looked patchy - also I wasn't sure where the mound lay in relation to the fields where kie were grazing. Instead I decided to go via Corn Hillock, taking the track that goes down to the north end of Cumminess Bay. Walk the shore as the clifftops though low are broken up in places. The planticru on the landward side is out of proportion to the surviving mound, and I wonder if has a more direct connection to earlier features than simple re-use of stones. Coming to the exposed fraction of the broch the cutting looks way too regular for erosion by sea. There is an area at the front of the cut covered by stones that could either have come from the wall or might possibly be a floor exposed by erosion. Standing above the wall still present gives the impression that it is only faintly curved near the mound's periphery and then sweeps in where it is more fragmented, and then following on there are a few slabs (rather than blocks) in a line above the level of the wall top. Walked the grassy mound top directly behind the wall and found myself stumbling over hidden stones - the smal structure ?? - so watch your step there. Then in front of you there's a big depression, a rounded hollow almost down to 'ground level', open seaward, that is probably an ovoid stroke lens-shaped area like those you'd expect between an outer broch wall and the tower. At the back can be seen just two courses of a wall, just two stones with another one a few inches away barely peeping out. Another, say, six inches to thesouth and there's a brown stone behind a grassy veil and and another couple of feet another similar. Not much of a wall line but its there [just now I'm reminded (for the brown stones) of the two near the top of Howie o' Backland in Deerness]. A couple of stones at the bottom of the hollow may or may not be loose. Between the mound and the shore the ground is flagstone with a slight incline and it is obvious that the broch has been built straight onto the rocks. Unlike Inganess and Berstane there is no cliff beneath, so it must have stood further back from the coastline than them. Near the base the odd brown stone can be seen, these being more obvious and frequent near the cut. If the mound has always been about its present height then the broch can never have been much more than three metres, perhaps four metres at most. So my thinking is more central tower than high tower.
I wonder if this entire stretch of coast could actually have once been called Gammi Sea, from the Knowe of Gemashowe (lost but near the Hall of Ireland) through Cummi Ness and the knowes of Gimme's Howe to [or including] Gorrie Knowe just north of here.
wideford Posted by wideford
29th May 2009ce

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