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The Cairn

Artificial Mound

<b>The Cairn</b>Posted by widefordImage © wideford
This site is of disputed antiquity. If you have any information that could help clarify this site's authenticity, please post below or leave a post in the forum.
Also known as:
  • Stembister

Nearest Town:Kirkwall (12km NW)
OS Ref (GB):   HY538022 / Sheets: 6, 7
Latitude:58° 54' 18.39" N
Longitude:   2° 48' 4.81" W

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<b>The Cairn</b>Posted by wideford <b>The Cairn</b>Posted by wideford <b>The Cairn</b>Posted by wideford


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The road to Stembister passes over a carefully built milldam. From here take the curving road left and the standing stone is behind the building on the left near the cliff. 'Ware the goose ! On the day I went this kept me at bay and the haar ruled out photography at a distance. Alternatively take the track that goes right and the mound is at the top of the hill as seen from the junction. Once there you realise the burn in the valley below is really is quite some distance away for water-carrying activities to take place. If you are lucky there is only one gate to cross.

Proceeding about the mound weodorshins I felt it to be more square than circle, but didn't think to take measurements. There are stones of various sizes dotted here and there over it, however none with any kind of burnt appearance. As to shape, it looks like a giant has taken an icecream scoop to the eastern half of it, giving the appearance of a broad ditch with the rim of mound still left intact. My opinion is that someone dug deep down to excavate summat, whether successfully or no, rather than for quarrying stone (though I am reminded just the weensiest of the Knowe of Geoso).
wideford Posted by wideford
5th May 2007ce
Edited 17th June 2007ce


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RCAHMS NMRS record no. HY50SW 11 at HY53840223 is a metre high earth and stone mound listed as a burnt mound on account of burnt stones recorded by the OS, but this report has had doubts cast on it by the farmer never having seen such material [it is rather far up the hill and there are likelier candidates by the stream, possibly including the duckpond]. One half has been severely reduced in height, probably by quarrying. wideford Posted by wideford
30th April 2007ce