21/09/2014 - Sunday afternoon boat trip to Mousa. The boat left Sandsayre pier (small visitor centre and toilets) for the short and luckily calm crossing to Mousa. You get about two and a half hours on the island which is plenty as there is a nice signposted walk of about one hour, leaving plenty of time to explore the broch. We walked clockwise so got to the broch towards the end of the loop. I liked this as I had a better idea of the time left before the boat back to the Mainland. After seeing so many brochs in ruined states, seeing Mousa broch up close in all it's glory is quite something. A bit like a ancient cooling tower to be honest from the back. Looking up from inside and climbing the steps to the top was great. I liked the stones used, a million different colours and shades.
In the summer months you can visit Mousa at night, and not only experience this site in the atmospheric 'summer dim', but also see the amazing sight of the Storm Petrels who nest there flitting back to their nests after a day out at sea. Highly recommended.
Mousa Broch is the finest example of a 2000 year old Iron Age tower or broch anywhere. It stands 13.3 metres high and dominates the landscape of the small island of Mousa just off the Shetland mainland.
Accessibility is only by boat and it is thought that the only reason it still stands so proud today is because it would have proved too difficult for past generations to sail over and steal the stone.
We find from Egil's Saga, ch43, that about AD900 'Bjorn Hairld of Aurland in Sogn, who had fled from the fiords with Thora Hladhond, sister of Thorer Herse, was wrecked near Moseyjarborg' (Mousa) and took shelter there until his ship was repaired, and he could continue his voyage to Iceland. Again in 1154, Erlend Junge, a chief from Hjaltland, fled with Earl Harald's mother, Margaret, widow of Madadh of Atholl, and shut himself up in Mousa, where he stood a siege (p342 in the Orkneyinga Saga). Neither of these notices, however, necessarily implies that the broch was at these dates owned or occupied by any one, but rather the reverse.
IV.—The Brocks or "Pictish Towers" of Cinn-Trolla, Carn-Liath,and
Craig-Carril, in Sutherland, with Notes on other Northern Brochs,