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

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Aikey Brae (Stone Circle) — News

Outrage after north-east stone circle damaged by fire

Visitors to Aikey Brae Stone Circle, near Old Deer, discovered the remains of a fire on the grounds this week.

Pictures from the area show burned logs and a large fire mark in the centre of the circle.

P&J Link Report.

Achaneas (Broch) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Achaneas</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Achaneas</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Achaneas</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Achaneas</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Achaneas</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Achaneas (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 13, 2022

A short distance from the Achness Hotel in the community of Rosehall, and a mere 90 metres southeast of the ruined Achness Broch, stands another dilapidated broch: Achaneas.

In this case there is a distinct mound two to three metres in height bearing a number of mature trees, but again, little evidence of walling structure or an entrance passage. There are, however, a number of large stones on the eastern and southern slopes of the mound.

Achness (Broch) — Images

<b>Achness</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Achness (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 13, 2022

As a spectacle, the remains of Achness Broch are barely worth the visit, and it was only because they sit just over one hundred metres from the magnificent Casselly Falls (Achness Falls on the OS map) that I was in this area. You pass the broch on the path to the falls.

Nowadays, Achness Broch is just a low, grass-covered mound, with less than a handful of stones peeking through the undergrowth. A mere 65 metres from the broch stands the walled Achness Graveyard, and it seems probable, in the absence of any other stone structures in the vicinity, that the stones of the broch were plundered in its construction.

From some viewpoints it is just possible to discern a rather shallow saucer-shaped depression in the surface of the mound, as reported by Canmore, typical evidence of the central court of many brochs.

Just 90 metres to the southeast of this broch stand the remains of another ruined monument: Achaneas Broch.

Achness (Broch) — Images

<b>Achness</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Achness</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Achness</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Ferry Wood (Broch) — Images

<b>Ferry Wood</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Ferry Wood</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Ferry Wood (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 13, 2022

Ferry Wood Broch (remains of) lie in woodland immediately west of Little Loch Shin in Lairg. Access is from the Countryside Centre, where ample parking is available. If you drive past the football pitch, you can park up close to the gate that gives access to the woodland.

The path into the woods soon splits but as it is circular you can follow either branch and, after a walk of just under a kilometre, at its northernmost point, you will encounter a marker stone carrying generalised information on the brochs of Scotland. The remains of Ferry Wood Broch lie on a shallow rise just a few metres north.

In truth, there is not a lot to see as the structure has been long since trashed by forestry work, but the overall outline is clear, marked by numerons sizeable boulders all around it, though apart from one short, tumbled stretch, few are adjacent to each other. No signs of inner or outer wall facings are apparent, nor any hint of any mural structure.

At the time of my visit there was a low semicircular structure that resembled a wind break, but as all its smallish stones were clean and free of vegetation, it is almost certainly a recently constructed 'folly'.

Cat Cairn 2 (Kerbed Cairn) — Images

<b>Cat Cairn 2</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Highland (Mainland) — Links

The Big Broch Build

Caithness Brochs Project have recently updated their website with details and images relating to their intent to build a 'modern' broch.

Tot Nan Druidhean (Cairn(s)) — News

Farmer fined for digging up ancient 'burial cairn'

A farmer has been fined £18,000 for destroying a Neolithic site on Skye.

Duncan MacInnes used the earth from Upper Tote Cairn to help with a shed-building project elsewhere on his land.

Full report can be read here.

Acairseid an Rubha (Promontory Fort) — Images

<b>Acairseid an Rubha</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Acairseid an Rubha</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Acairseid an Rubha (Promontory Fort) — Fieldnotes

September 12,2021

Rather embarrassingly, on returning from a trip to the Isle of Skye, I discovered on checking the GPS data in my photographs, that I had not in fact visited Acairseid an Rubha promontory fort. I had in fact visited a headland on the opposite (north) side of the bay! Fortunately, I found that two of the coastal scenes I had photographed did in fact include Acairseid an Rubha and they are presented above.

Acairseid an Rubha is accessed from the car-park at the end of the A851 from Broadford, where a wide metalled track heads to Point of Sleat. After two kilometres, at the point where the signed path heads sharp left southwards towards Point of Sleat, the track continues towards the west coast. It is now under a kilometre to the fort.

As for the fort, I hope to visit it next time I'm on Skye. Very little seems to be known about it, and even Canmore has nothing significant to state other than that it is a "possible dun".

Tulach Beag (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 23, 2021

Tulach Beag is a dilapidated broch which can be visited as part of an excursion to the much more impressive Tulach Mor. As the remains of this broch have a fairly low profile, it is recommended to follow the route to the nearby Tulach Mor, then walk about 460 metres northwards along the bank of the River Thurso. As you approach, Tulach Beag becomes evident, just 40 metres inland from the river. No trace of walling, outer or inner, remains here.

Route Map
The map of Causeymire Windfarm on the Tulach Mor page actually shows the location of this broch.

Tulach Beag (Broch) — Images

<b>Tulach Beag</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Beag</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Beag</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Beag</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Tulach Mor (Broch) — Images

<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Mor</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Tulach Mor (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 23, 2021

Tulach Mor is the southernmost of the Westerdale brochs in Caithness, and stands adjacent to the River Thurso in the Causeymire Windfarm near Achkeepster. Unusually, perhaps, walkers are actively welcomed to explore the area of this windfarm. Access is via a good metalled road to the windfarm, to the west of the A9 and about 1½ kilometres south of Mybster.

Be aware that the much more expansive Halsary Windfarm lies immediately adjacent to and south of the Causeymire Windfarm (but is not at present shown on the OS map). Its spacious entrance is just a few hundred metres farther south. On my first visit to the area, I parked in the entrance to this windfarm and found the layout totally different to the windfarm shown on the OS map. If in doubt, look for the Map illustrated in the Artistic / Interpretive: section above. If you don't see a sign bearing this map beside the cattle grid at the start of the road leading into the windfarm, you are in the wrong windfarm!

Route to Tulach Mor
The purple marker "P" indicates the parking area at the windfarm entrance (you are not permitted to drive your vehicle into the windfarm). The green markers show the locations of the Tulach Mor and Tulach Beag brochs. The southern one is your target, Tulach Mor.

The walk to Tulach Mor starts with a trek of around four kilometres along a wide roughly metalled road. Keep to this road (yellow trail on the map) and avoid turning off along any of the short turbine servicing roads. All the turbines are indicated by small white markers on the map, and the one where you set off cross-country to Tulach Mor is a larger white marker indicated "X".

When you leave the road, you have a walk over a mixture of grass tussocks, heather and sphagnum (cyan line on map) for almost 600 metres, effectively due west. The main indicator to look out for is the River Thurso. Turbine "X", is the first turbine from which you can actually see the river, so basically just make for it. The terrain is mixed, and the easiest stretches are the frequent grassy tongues. I visited in drought conditions, but I reckon the superabundant sphagnum could be a problem in wetter times. Almost at once, you should see the broch mound in the distance.

Tulach Mor is a prominent mound abutting the eastern river bank close to where the River Thurso dog-legs sharply towards the southwest. The broch stands on a rock with a steep face on the south and west and was originally protected by a ditch around its eastern side. On the east is a field of tumbled masonry, presumably the remains of a severely quarried wall that formerly crowned the ditch.

There's not a great deal of walling remaining, except on the south and southwest, where several courses of neat blocks endure. For the rest, the structure is just a grass-covered dome with a saucer-shaped depression in its summit, characteristic of the filled-in court seen in many brochs. On the northern arc of the summit some stonework of the broch's inner wall still protrudes while on its inner western wall is a lintelled breach leading to an intra-mural cavity.

Rumster (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 23, 2021

Rumster broch stands in Rumster Forest, not far from the broch at Golsary. Sadly, there is little to see other than a green mound with no evidence of stonework at all.

To access Rumster broch, follow the directions on the Golsary page but, instead of taking the turning to the right, continue south for about 700 metres then take the forest road to the left (east). Rumster broch is immediately evident in the field on your right.

Canmore does state that "one course of a curved wallface, made of heavy stones, is exposed in the south-west arc". I daresay that in spring, before the rank nettles and thistles hold sway, it might be easier to locate.

Rumster (Broch) — Images

<b>Rumster</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Rumster</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Borgue Langwell (Broch) — Images

<b>Borgue Langwell</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Borgue Langwell</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Borgue Langwell</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Borgue Langwell</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Borgue Langwell</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Borgue Langwell</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Borgue Langwell</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Borgue Langwell</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Borgue Langwell (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 22, 2021

The remains of Borgue Langwell broch (red marker on map below) stand near the top of a short valley south of the Langwell Water (stream) near Berridale in Caithness. The structure consists of a grassy mound with remnant walling courses on the south and southwest only. Elsewhere, any stonework that had existed is now totally tumbled into an amorphous stoneheap. The broch mound itself is a grassy dome with a slight saucer-like depression in its summit and the occasional large stone peeking out from its sides.

Getting to Borgue Langwell poses a bit of a challenge. Until a few years ago, the OS map showed a woodland path leading from a car-park on the A9 (blue marker) almost directly to the site. But no longer. The trees have been harvested leaving behind a wasteland of stumps and branches that is almost impossible to cross: and of the original path there remains no trace. Add to this the fact that a large section of the area is now guarded by a high fence—presumably to protect new plantings—and the problem is compounded!

Starting from the car-park, which is 1.5 kilometres south of Berridale, the only practical route is to follow the A9 south. Fortunately, there is a wide grassy verge all the way, which makes this a very safe option. After 800 metres, the band of roadside trees gives way to a wide fire break which heads north towards Borgue Langwell. After a further 600 metres I arrived at a fence and gate. Frustratingly, the broch lies, not on the other side of the gate, but beyond a second fence heading off to the right. With no sign of a gate through this fence (though there obviously must be one somewhere), the remaining option was to clamber over it using the high slatted stile at the side of the gate. The broch lies around a hundred metres away beyond the remains of an old farm steading.
Showing 1-50 of 1,877 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
A keen hillwalker most of my life, my interest was restricted when the need arose to care for an ageing parent.

With limited opportunities to travel far from home, I 'discovered' the world of stone circles, mainly in my native Aberdeenshire.

This provided the ideal opportunity for short walks of just a few hours duration, and resulted in me visiting many places of interest that I had never considered previously.

Stone Circles of NE Scotland
Here you will find both Google and Bing maps displaying more than 100 sites of stone circles, the majority in my native Aberdeenshire. The markers on the maps are clickable, to reveal a photo of the stone circle and a link to their Canmore Site Record.

A menu at the side of the maps allows you to zoom in to any individual circle, viewing its environs as a zoomable aerial photograph (Google) or an OS Map (Bing).

I've since extended my interest to the megalithic remains in The Netherlands, where there are some magnificent passage graves known as hunebedden (giant's beds). Despite the fact that The Netherlands is essentially flat and sandy, these 5000 year old monuments from the Funnel Beaker Culture are often found in exquisite woodland settings, nearly all of them in the province of Drenthe. There are almost limitless opportunities for delightful walks between small villages, taking in a diversion to a hunebed here and there.

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