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

<b>Achvarasdal</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Achvarasdal</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Tulach Buaile a'Chroic (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 20, 2019

One of a cluster of broch mounds in Westerdale, Caithness, Tulach Buaile a'Chroic though rather bland in itself, stands in an attractive location on the bank of the River Thurso.

It has been reduced to a grass-covered mound some 3.5 metres tall, with only the minimalist evidence of masonry. A number of stones protrude from the upper southwest side of the structure, and may be remnants of a foundation course, while there is a small exposure of larger blocks on the northwest flank.

Not a broch to rave about, but the ambiance of the setting is undeniable.

Tulach Buaile a'Chroic (Broch) — Images

<b>Tulach Buaile a'Chroic</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Buaile a'Chroic</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Buaile a'Chroic</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Buaile a'Chroic</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Tulach Buaile a'Chroic</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Caisteal na Coille (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 17, 2019

North of Loch Bora, on the lip of a gorge on the Blackwater River, stands a hidden gem of a broch, Caisteal na Coille, sometimes dubbed 'Castle Cole'. For the determined walker it would be possible to set out from the same starting point as for Carrol Broch broch. But this would mean a round trip of some 28 kilometres.

I decided to investigate a shorter alternative by driving through Brora where, immediately north of the River Brora, a minor road signposted 'Balnacoil' heads northwest, hugging the eastern shore of Loch Brora for 13 kilometres (8 miles). Your target is a left-hand bend on the road from which an estate road (marked by two prominent boulders, one on either side) heads to the right into a patch of woodland. There may be space for verge parking for a couple of cars here. If not, you should be able to park close to the bridge (red marker) over the River Brora, 700 metres farther on.

The estate road (yellow track on the map below) provides easy walking for just under 4 kilometres, by which time you should be level with the broch (white marker on map).



As you near your target, you will see ahead a small stand of a dozen or so mature trees just to the right of the track. By now you will see the broch and must make a decision on the best point to leave the track and start crossing towards the broch. I found no evidence of any footpath leading from the road to the broch and surmise that this is simply because it is so rarely visited.

Now comes the hard bit, crossing some 300 metres of blanket bog, firstly downhill, followed by a climb up to the mound supporting the broch. But the effort is certainly worth it ...

Caisteal na Coille stands within an almost level grassy platform on the summit of a small hill that drops vertically into the valley of the Black Water, the northern tributary of the River Brora. The broch is constructed from rectangular sandstone slabs rising to at least a dozen courses at the entrance and twenty or more on its eastern side. On the western flank, which falls down to the river as a cliff, the walling is rudimentary (unless, of course, it was never more than a low boundary wall, since an approach from that quarter would be deemed impossible?)

The entrance is capped by a massive, roughly triangular lintel not dissimilar to those at Dun Dornaigil in Sutherland and Caisteal Grugaig in Glenelg, and leads to an entrance passage almost four metres long. To the east of the entrance lies a large guard cell, now uncapped, and the rampart beyond it shows indications of an intramural gallery. A striking feature of the internal walls of Caisteal na Coille is the number of cupboard recesses on display.

This broch is very much one for the connaisseur, and a visit to it is an experience to be treasured.

Further information relating to this structure can be viewed on the Canmore website.

Caisteal na Coille (Broch) — Images

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Whitegate (Broch) — Images

<b>Whitegate</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Whitegate</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Whitegate</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Whitegate</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Whitegate</b>Posted by LesHamilton

Whitegate (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 18, 2019

The Caithness village of Keiss can boast three brochs in its vicinity: Keiss South (K), Whitegate (W) and Kirk Tofts (T).

Whitegate is a probable solid-based broch, located on the shore northeast of the village of Keiss and about 175 metres farther on than Keiss South broch (marker 'W' on the map below). It is totally ruinous and was overgrown with long grass at the time of my visit.



All that there is to be seen are a few stretches of walling courses, an entrance passage and a chamber set back in the walling opposite the entrance passage.

There is a considerable amount of additional information on the Canmore website, particularly with respect to recent excavations at the site.

Nybster (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited: June 18, 2019

Nybster broch stands on a cliff-girt headland, protected on three sides by vertical sandstone cliffs and by a ditch that cuts off the promontory on its landward side.

The site is signposted just south of the village of Nybster, and there is a car park from which a good footpath heads south for 450 metres to the broch site. As you approach the broch, the first thing you will see is Mervyn's Tower, a monument built of rough stones by local farmer John Nicholson to commemorate the work of Sir Francis Tress Barry who excavated the site in 1895-6.

Canmore states that Nybster is: 'a site of major signifcance in the study of the development of the broch in that it comprises the ground-galleried block-house of a pre-broch promontory fort, a solid-based broch, and a post-broch settlement. The block-house, which displays broch-like features, including a passage checked for two doors, is probably to be dated not much before the first century BC if not within it'.

Without doubt, Nybster is a complex side, and readers wishing to learn more about it can find copious details of the various structures and finds on the Canmore website.

Nybster (Broch) — Images

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Kirk Tofts (Broch) — Images

<b>Kirk Tofts</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Kirk Tofts</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Kirk Tofts</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Kirk Tofts</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Kirk Tofts</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Kirk Tofts</b>Posted by LesHamilton<b>Kirk Tofts</b>Posted by LesHamilton
Previous 50 | Showing 51-100 of 1,675 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.

Website:
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).

Hunebedden
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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