Now, this is what I call remote.
If you think the A838 in Sutherland is remote this is something else!
You have to travel south for a good 10 miles or more along a minor road off the A838.
No houses, no farms, no people – just a loch and a pretty valley to enjoy.
Despite being a Historic Scotland site it is not sign posted which I guess isn’t too surprising when you consider how far away from anyone / anything it is!
Eventually you arrive at the broch (right next to road) where there is a small lay by to park in.
An information board states that the broch has never been excavated.
I was disappointed to find that the doorway is blocked and the whole of the inside of the broch has been infilled and is now covered in grass. All you get to see is the outside.
The walls of the broch are pretty well preserved and stand to a height of about 6 metres.
On the plus side the scenery is lovely (as is everywhere in Sutherland) and the children enjoyed playing by a stream and watching tadpoles and a frog in a large puddle. A cuckoo sang out in the distance.
Driving to the broch I saw one of the strangest things I have ever seen. As I described, this place really is in the middle of nowhere, yet we passed a chap in the middle of the valley floor (full of spiky grass) with a petrol powered grass strimmer! Why on earth he was cutting the grass there I have no idea. He was miles from anyone and anything! Very odd.
Unless like me you are trying visit all the Historic Scotland sites I couldn’t really recommend the long detour off the A838 to visit the broch – although it is a pretty drive.
It is early October 1990. I have driven all the way from Cornwall to Fife in a 1000cc Suzuki 4x4 with a dodgy radiator. After a few days in the Kingdom to recuperate and take on liquid (me, not the car) me and Brian head north to bag a hill or two.
We reach a pub in the middle of nowhere as the "sun" sets over the hills. Here we eat before carrying on up the road to the foot of Ben Hope. It is dark by the time we reach the broch....and it is also blowing a gale. The car has only got a canvas top but with the spirit of adventure flowing through our veins we settle down for the night.
Settling down means several spliffs, a packet of chocolate hob-nobs and John Peel on the radio. My lasting memory of that night is the cold, the rain and a Vietnamese version of "A hard rains gonna fall".
Daylight arrives at last and the full glory of Sutherland is upon us. It is a land of rock and water and very little else. The broch stands proud beside us, the only thing that could have withstood last nights storm. If I remember rightly it has inner walls and a passage way all the way round inside. We breakfast within its shell before setting out up Ben Hope.
That's another story...what a beast of a mountain. It was so cold we got to the top and turned right round and came straight back down.
As for Sutherland, it is a wonderful wild place. I am not sure how many TMA sites there are to visit but the landscape is just stunning. Sandwood Bay at the far North West tip is possibly one of the finest beaches in the UK.