The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Castle Bloody



Visited 4th June 2013

I spotted this place from the Mor Stein last time we were there, Castle Bloody’s cairn just being visible on the horizon, but was unsure as to what it actually was, and besides the weather on that day was not conducive to a trek across peaty moorland for a visit.

Today I’m approaching from the other direction, having come from Burroughston, back down the B9058, and taking the lane for Frustigarth. Nearing the coast a small green sign handily signposts the path to Castle Bloody. It’s also interesting from this direction just how the Mor Stein stands out across the flat landscape, being continually visible on the horizon as I follow the path, and I’ve no doubt how much of a major landmark it would have been back in the times these sites were constructed.

The path seems to take forever to reach it, making me wonder if the name of the place derived from people wondering when they were going to reach the bloody castle, but on a day like today the walk is pleasant, with the sun beating down, and just the calls of the seabirds wheeling overhead for company, and on the way you pass an interesting sea stack, a bit like a mini man of Shapinsay.

Soon the path leads you through the heart of the moorland, and you sometimes have to pick your way through the clumps of peat, but always the cairn of stones atop the souterrain is beckoning you on. It’s finally a relief when I reach this fascinating place, a gentle breeze from the sea cooling me down. As I walk around the turf covered mound I’m more and more intrigued. Although the OS map calls it a chambered mound, I’ve read it’s a souterrain, but due to the unexcavated nature of the mound no entrances are visible. From the top of the mound though a fine capstone is visible and uncovered, and although the cairn of stones atop the mound is a relatively recent addition given the overall age of the monument, I really liked the way it now seemed to organically fit with the rest, having been mellowed and worn by age, and with a lovely beard of sea moss.

I sit with my back against the marker cairn in the sun as I have a sandwich and write my fieldnotes, and can think of no finer place to be. Then it’s off to the Mor Stein, this time though directly across the heathland, and coming across one of the small cluster of little cairns, mid way between the two sites, on the way.
Ravenfeather Posted by Ravenfeather
13th June 2013ce

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