If you walk to Birsay it feels as if you are at the top of Orkney Mainland, with the result that you have great difficulty orientating yourself. For instance the bit of road with Oxtro on it feels like it goes straight across the top but you are actually going down the 'side' of Mainland. Finally popped into the field, barely missing the usual muddy bit other side of the gate. Must confess I wasn't expecting much beyond further outer wall. If I had only checked the diagram properly beforehand I could have made more use of my time with better observations (beware that diagram by the way as it shows the broch as seen looking towards the road). The intramural stuff I easily made out but I mistook the well for a burial area as it looked fairly rectangular. Next time I will take a photo overlooking that, the picture I took was owing to my keeping a big plastic bucket out of sight. Seen from the direction of the road the chamber at the right is your basic intramural chamber whilst that on your left has a flight of stairs (apparently). Very nice for us brochaholics.
HY 2537 2678. RCAHMS NMRS No. HY22NE 4
As you go up to Birsay only just past the A967-B9056 junction there can be seen the remains of the Oxtro Broch in the field to your left. Not many courses remain (five at best) and it is best viewed with some form of magnification for it to stand out from the road. It is strange that a site so close to the road is unmarked. If it weren't for the cattle on my visits I would have popped into the field to get to the other side.
The interior is 45' across and the walls 12' thick, with 3/4 of the wall outline surviving. Additional to the chambers in the east and south that were originally known about there are the remains of a possible guard-cell at the NW. A centrally placed well drains to the probable west entrance (where there is now a gap in the wall).
Several cremation cists were inserted in the mound and originally ascribed to the Bronze Age ! Down the road at Saevar Howe a similar but later discovery is ascribed to a (long cist) Christian cemetery. One of the covers had an eagle inscribed but has now disappeared from the farmhouse wall it was transferred to. Viking objects and Samian ware point to multi-period use.