Coming off the ferry (well done to Karen for her expert reverse driving onto the ferry!) we turned right as everyone else turned left.
Before hitting the more famous prehistoric sites of Rousay I wanted to check out this Chambered Cairn.
We parked on the road (B9064) just south of the Cairn and I jumped over the barbed wire fence and walked up to the site – through the heather.
The Cairn is approx 1.5 metres high x 15 metres across.
It has clearly been dug into and has bushes growing all over it.
There was one stone still standing in the centre of the Cairn which looked like it may be the side of a cist? Several other stones were seen sticking out of the ground.
There are lovely views out across the water to the other Orkney Islands.
There was no wind and the water was calm.
Although this Cairn wouldn’t be at the top of your Rousay sites to visit it is worth a quick look if you have the time.
‘Cobbie Row's Burden: An Orkney-Cromarty round cairn situated on a hillside (55 m OD). It is circular, some 52 ft in diameter and 4 ft high. Part of the interior has been removed and in the side of the resultant hollow, but in the centre of the cairn, the tops of five upright stones can be seen. They represent two pairs of divisional stones with a back-slab behind. The outer part of the chamber and the passage cannot be traced at present’
Visited by A S Henshall 1959.
Cubbie Roo's castle is just over the sound on the little Isle of Wyre. S Cruden rather confidently suggests in The Scottish Castle (1960) that
This name is certainly a corruption of Kolbein Hruga, Kubbe or Kobbe being a Norse term of familiarity for Kolbein.
There's lots more at the lovely Orkneyjar site which tells about this giant's exploits. There's an article disputing any connection with a real Norse person, that the 'Kolbein Hruga' thing is all of a muddle. But I think that's not so important is it... he's clearly a bit more than an ordinary person in the stories. Maybe his 'Burden' is the stones that he dropped, rather like the Devil's Burdens elsewhere?
The Orkney Book ("for young Orcadians") says the giant's name "is even yet used to terrify into good behaviour some obstreperous youngster, in the awful threat, "Cubbie Roo'll get thee!" "