This is yet another impressive tomb on the Eday Heritage trail in the Vinquoy area, the yellow of the gorse on the hillside contrasting with the blue of the sea ahead, and the denuded remains of the tomb are clearly visible as you head towards the hill.
Dug into but still large, the remains of the bank around it giving an idea of the size it would once have been, which would have been a substantial mound by the looks of it, a shame that only an adumbration of its form remains. A southern entrance passage is still visible which opens into a narrow stalled chamber, a couple of orthostats still standing to show where one of the compartments was. The entrance passage is particularly interesting in that is offset slightly, by 10° from the axis of the chamber, so that it aligns directly with the nearby Stone of Setter.
Standing in the entranceway you get a great sightline of the standing stone, or rather you would if someone in the past hadn’t built a stone byre directly in the way! It’s still possible to see the alignment though as long as you move yourself off centre slightly.
I manage to find a small information sign about the tomb attached to a post, which had fallen over and now lies prone in the grass. This indicated that there would have been three pairs of stalls within the chamber, and that it was excavated by Farrer in the 1850’s, probably leaving it in the state it’s in today.
Although battered it’s got a certain charm. In some way it reminded of a truncated version of the Cairn O’ Get in Caithness, not sure why as it’s different in layout, it just had that ‘feel’ to it that some of the tombs you find in Caithness have, I also find it interesting that on the slopes of Vinquoy hill we have three very different designs of tombs, the stalled cairn of Braeside, double-decker special of Huntersquoy, and mini Maes Howe style Vinquoy. I wonder why that is? It’s almost as if this part of Eday was like a chambered tomb showroom, where you could pick out the style of monument you’d like for your own Neolithic community! Or it could be I suppose a very special place where different communities came together, each bringing their own style of tomb to the area.
I still think it’s a very special place, and a nice appetizer for the delights of Vinquoy just atop the hill ahead.