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Fieldnotes by thelonious

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Sumburgh Head (Promontory Fort)

17/04/2017 - OK the bad news first, on the megalithic side there is little to see. The good news is that there is now a pop up cafe at the top. Along with stones, coffee and cake plays a very important part in my life so this cafe came as a most welcome surprise. It must have one of the best views of any cafe I've been to. Having a coffee and sitting by the window looking out over Sumburgh to Jarlshof and Ness of Burgi far below - a fine place to while away some time.

One minor bit of bad luck, this is the second time I've been to Sumburgh Head and the second time I didn't see any puffins in one of the best places for them! I don't think they like me.

I'll have to make do with this until next time
http://www.shetland.org/60n/webcams/cliff-cam-2

Old Scatness (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

17/04/2017 – I can’t tell you how happy we were when we arrived to see the open today sign. Missed this place on our last trip to Shetland a few years back. Great to make it this time round.

A fiver to get in and you are given a guided tour round the site. The tour was excellent and the site itself is just fantastic. Bigger than it looked from the outside. The south mainland of Shetland has some lovely old stuff to see and this site is a must visit.

Clevigarth (Broch)

17/04/2017 – Morning walk to Clevigarth Broch. Access OK from North Town, just past Exnaboe. I think you can walk round the coast as well which could be nicer but we unfortunately didn’t have time to try that way. The Broch is really just a big pile of stones now but two cells are exposed in the walls. Location is good and just to the south are The Cletts where you might get lucky and see a fish fossil. Weather was changeable today, sunshine one minute, heavyish snow the next. I liked this one.

Tonga, Scatness (Promontory Fort)

16/04/2017- If you are visiting Ness of Burgi it’s worth stopping by the blockhouse at Tonga on the way. Similar to Ness of Burgi but not in as good a condition. Enclosed by a bank and ditch with fine views. Though near the path it’s easy to miss as you walk past.

Ness of Burgi (Cliff Fort)

16/04/2017 – Just over three weeks ago I was in Somerset, making my way up to Lype Hill. I remember at the time thinking I bet that’s where Carl parked by the entrance to the field which contains the cairns. A few weeks on and at the other end of the British Isles, as we passed the end of the public road, south of Scatness I thought again I wonder if Carl parked there? It’s like I’m following his shadow. Always good to think about fellow TMAers and their trips whilst visiting a site. Probably would have missed this one if I hadn’t read about it on here. Anyway I’ll stop waffling and get on with my thoughts of the trip and site.

It had been a long day so far with a trip to Fitful Head and a lovely walk round the sea cliffs there. Great for birds and top views. After a walk along the beach at Bay of Quendale and then through Toab we got to the turn off for Scatness. I was tired but really wanted to see Ness of Burgi so a quick bit of chocolate for power and off we headed south. The walk isn’t that long and it’s quite gentle. As others have mentioned it gets a little narrow near the end but no problems in good weather.

I really liked this site. Location is fantastic with great views over to Sumburgh Head and back to Jarlshof (a place this site is surely connected with?). The Blockhouse is defended by two ditches with a bank. It contains a passageway and two cells which you can go into (hands and knees job). The walls are good and the site has a nice blockiness to it.

Really worth a visit alongside Jarlshof and the broch at Old Scatness if you are in the area and the three together make for a good day out.

Ward Of Scousburgh (Cairn(s))

15/04/2017 – We walked over from Midi Field via Hallilee to the north for this cairn on top of Ward of Scousburgh. You can drive up to the summit as well if you have a car. Not the most exciting cairn to be honest and the nearby antennas could detract from the scene for some, they don’t bother me much. The views are very good from this one so it’s worth going just for that.

North Lochend (Cairn(s))

15/04/2017 – Just a short walk south of Longhill cairn is this cairn on a little crest. Biggish but not much showing of any inner structure. Stones used are quite large. There is an odd cist like hole just a little down the slope.

Longhill (Cairn(s))

15/04/2017 – I like to look over maps, especially in the winter months, planning, always planning that’s me. This cairn overlooking Maywick really got me a few months back. Just a little cairn marked on the OS map, probably not that exciting but you never know. We started to plan a little trip up north around it to have a look. Even if the cairn was a bit rubbish it beats staying home ignoring all the jobs that need doing round the house, I can ignore them just as well whilst I’m away.

Early flight from Aberdeen to Sumburgh then a short taxi to Maywick and we were good to go at the start of the walk by half nine in the morning. Weather was fantastic, little wind, sunshine and blue skies, very lucky. It’s a short walk up the track from the road to the west.

From the photos, the cairn might come across as just a few jumbled up stones but it really is a good one. Canmore has it as a round cairn adapted from an earlier heel-shaped cairn. Decent size foot print. The cairn is much robbed but because of this the facade of the heel-shaped cairn is revealed. Also stones of the probable chamber with two lovely what are surely portal stones still standing. Probably just a coincidence but looking out through the portal stones the view seemed to point straight to the distant island of Foula.

Really taken with the cairn and so glad it caught my eye on the map a few months back. Great location and wonderful views. A magic visit.

Periton Hill Barrows (Round Barrow(s))

24/03/2017 - Walk over Periton Hill from Dunster to Minehead. Just north of the trigpoint are two barrows. Little to see but you can just make them out. Go for the walk, which is nice, not the barrows.

Bats Castle (Hillfort)

23/03/2017 - What a great hillfort this one is. Well worth a visit along with Black Ball Camp just NE on Gallox Hill, if you are in the area. Easy access from Dunster. Good sized ramparts and ditch. Very fine views. Even a bench to rest a couple of weary feet.

Withycombe Common (Round Barrow(s))

23/03/2017 - Good walk from Wheddon Cross to Dunster today. Route taken was

Wheddon Cross -> Lype Hill -> Luxborough -> Monkham Hill ->Withycombe Common -> Bat's Castle -> Dunster

Weather was rubbish in the morning. Low cloud and rain. On the way we passed a couple of cairns on Lype Hill and then stopped at the Royal Oak in Luxborough. This proved to be a fine place to get something to eat whilst we waited out the rain before climbing up to Withycombe Common in the afternoon to look for these barrows.

On the top of the hill is a linear group of three round barrows. Easiest to find is the most southern one with a trigpoint on it. Middle one was very hidden in heather. Most northerly one was OK with stones showing. Good views to Dunkery Beacon and the sea from here.

After a bash about in the heather we headed off to Bat's Castle then Dunster for the night.

Dunkery Beacon (Cairn(s))

22/03/2017 - Fine walk from Porlock to Wheddon Cross via Dunkery Beacon today. For anyone interested in routes, access etc we went

Porlock -> Hawkcombe Woods -> Porlock stone circle -> Alderman’s Barrow -> Almsworthy stone setting -> Bendels Barrows -> Great Rowbarrow -> Dunkery Beacon -> Dunkery Bridge -> Mansley Combe -> Wheddon Cross

Took all day with our slow plodding but it was a good way to get a feel for Exmoor, a place I hadn’t been to before. Mostly on good tracks/roads, a bit wet underfoot today. The weather was changeable to say the least, snowing in the morning then lovely sun and blue skies in the afternoon.

Dunkery Beacon really does catch your eye from far away. A strong feature in the landscape. We were lucky to get the top to ourselves today but I guess it’s a busy spot in the summer months. The cairns at the summit are a fair size with the main one having a modern commemorative cairn on top. If you like a trigpoint, sad to say Dunkery Beacon’s is long gone. Very good views today as the weather was kind (I was thinking of TSC’s battle against the elements whilst there and thanked my lucky stars).

If you like an upland cairn with a view you can’t go wrong with this place. Lots to see and do in the area as well. Top day out.

Almsworthy Stone Circle

22/03/2017 - A very curious place. I counted about 10 or so small stones still standing but not really any obvious layout. I was very taken with this site. Like Porlock stone circle nearby, the setting is good and there is a nice feel to the place. A little squelchy underfoot so maybe not the best place for a sit at this time of year. Nice herd of ponies close by, just to complete a lovely scene.

Porlock Stone Circle

22/03/2017 – Nice walk from Porlock through Hawkcombe Woods to this stone circle. Easy access from the road through a gate. I liked this one a lot. The setting in the landscape is very good with a grand view of the surrounding moor. Enough stones left to still give a good feel to the place. Always good to visit a new circle for me. Well worth the trip.

Bossington Hill (Cairn(s))

21/03/2017 - Fine walk over Selworthy Beacon from Minehead to Porlock. This nice cairn is in a quiet spot on the hill and makes for a fine place for a rest. The views north across the Bristol Channel are wonderful on a sunny day.

Hillend (Hillfort)

28/01/2017 - Snowy walk to Hillend hillfort today. We came from Caeketton Hill. Easy access from the north as well. Nice fort with good views.

Caerketton Hill (Cairn(s))

28/01/2017 - I posted a photo of this cairn a few years back but to be honest I remembered little of the cairn and the photo seemed to only show a little bit of it. I've been wanting to go back and have another look for a while.

Starting from Edinburgh we took the 101 bus to Silverburn. From here we had a grand walk taking in Gladman's cairn on South Black Hill, Scald Law, the big cairn on Carnethy Hill, the little cairn on Turnhouse Hill, CastleLaw fort & souterrain, Allermuir Hill, this cairn on Caerketton Hill and finally the Hillfort on Hillend. Finished a long day at the Ski Centre for a cup of tea and then took the bus back to Edinburgh.

A good walk over the tops and a bit snowier than I thought it would be.

Three of the four cairns we visited are on Canmore. South Black Hill isn't but as Gladman has mentioned elsewhere, it really looks and feels the part. This cairn on Caerketton is smaller and has a fence running through it. Good views on a clear day!

There are many routes and paths to link up the tops and cairns in the Pentland Hills. Pick any, you can't go wrong. A magic day.

Lunt Meadows (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

25/12/2016 - If you are in the area Lunt Meadows nature reserve is worth a visit for a little leg stretch. Site of Mesolithic settlements (see link below). Car park and decent track round. Good place for owls if you get lucky.

Hightown submerged forest (Ancient Trackway)

25/12/2016 - We went for a walk at Hightown on Christmas Day, just down the coast from Formby and its famous footprints. The beach is quiet and it's a nice stroll to where the River Alt meets the sea and then along the coast. An ancient trackway was discovered here in the 90s and radiocarbon dated to Early Neolithic. Don't think there is much to see of it now. Still worth the trip to see the ancient submerged forest in a fine layer of peat. Trees (mainly birch I think) and plants (Royal ferns?) lay in the peat, still soft to the touch. Such beautiful shapes and I did find the place quite moving. Great views out to sea. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Pressendye (Cairn(s))

19/11/2016 - It's a funny old hill Pressendye. A decent size (just over 2000ft) but it can be easily overlooked, sandwiched between lovely small hills like Bennachie to the east and wonderful Morven and the big hills in the Cairngorms to the west.

The usual approach is from the Tarland side, south of the hill but today we thought we'd try from the north for a change.

Cold start to the day. Car said minus 5 as we parked not long after sunrise at the beginning of the track into Loanend Plantation (NJ 5112 1276). The track goes west through trees. After curving round Beadshallock Hill it gets a bit vague but nothing too bad and then becomes more distinct again up Scar Hill. From here the view of the landscape opens up as the track heads across The Socach to the top of Pressendye.

I love this top and the cairn is nice. We sat down for a sandwich and brew alongside it. The ground was a little chilly to be honest but still the rest felt good. Very peaceful place and the frost on the heather looked lovely in the low November sunlight.

I guess like most upland cairns the walk there is as important as the cairn itself and luckily the way up is good for this one. Got me thinking as we walked, about the folk who had travelled this hill before me to place this cairn in such a nice location. A fine day again on Pressendye.
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