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More Archæology on the Brough of Birsay

Later Norse Houses with 12th century church in background:-

Later Norse Houses, Brough of Birsay

12th century church. (See Pictish stone to left):-

12th Century Church, Brough of Birsay,

Edge of 12th century church complex:-

Edge of 12th Century Church Complex

12th century church remains:-

Brough of Birsay, 12th Century Church Remains

12th century church information board:-

12th Centrury Church Information Board

Sunken structure, possibly another Norse house:-

Sunken Structure, Brough of Birsay

North edge of archæological site, Brough of Birsay:-

Remains, Brough of Birsay

Broch of Gurness, Orkney (ii)

The broch‘s entrance:-

Broch of Gurness, Entrance

Entrance information board:-

Broch of Gurness Entrance Information Board

Interior from entrance:-

Broch of Gurness, Interior from Entrance

Hearth at centre of broch:-

Broch of Gurness, Hearth

Internal compartment with stone trough:-

Broch of Gurness, Compartment

Interior wall:-

Interior Wall, Broch of Gurness, Orkney

Interior chamber:-

Interior Chamber, Broch of Gurness

Broch of Gurness, Orkney (i)

The Broch of Gurness, by the shores of Eynhallow Sound, near the village of Evie, Orkney, is quite remote, up a narrow winding road leading off the A 966. It is quite well preserved though and is in the care of Historic Scotland.

The day we were there it was driving rain. The attendant said he was on the point of giving up for the day although it was not long after lunchtime. Even so, as we were leaving another car rolled up to the car park. We had the broch to ourselves while we were there though.

Broch from site entrance:-

Broch of Gurness from Site Entrance

The first building you meet just inside the boundary, though, is called the Shamrock due to its shape. It’s the remains of a Pictish farm dating from much later than the broch and was moved to allow better exploration of the broch itself.

Shamrock Building, Broch of Gurness, Orkney

Shamrock Building Information Board

Broch of Gurness from west, showing outer rampart wall:-

Broch of Gurness, Showing Outer Rampart Wall

Broch of Gurness from south, Eynhallow Sound in background and Isle of Rousay somewhere in the mists beyond:-

Broch of Gurness, Eynhallow Sound

Broch of Gurness, plus part of rampart wall, Eynhallow Sound behind.

Broch of Gurness, Part of Rampart Wall

Broch of Gurness from southeast:-

Broch of Gurness from Southeast

Broch of Gurness, rampart wall and ditch:-

Broch of Gurness, Rampart Wall and Ditch

Broch of Gurness information board:-

Broch of Gurness Information Board

Dunkeld Memorial (Battle of Dunkeld)

This has only fairly recently been erected in memory of those who died in the Battle of Dunkeld, 1689, in the first of the Jacobite risings.

Dunkeld Memorial

Battle of Dunkeld Information Board:-

Battle of Dunkeld Information Board

The True Price of Coal

For some reason we stopped in Loanhead, Midlothian, on our way back from Crichton Castle and Crichton Collegiate Kirk (see earlier posts.)

There we found this memorial “To the memory of those men who died in accidents at Bilston Glen Colliery during its working life and to all others who lost their lives in mining accidents in the community of Loanhead.”

The True Price of Coal

Crichton Castle

The castle is in Midlothian, by the village of Crichton, which is itself near Pathhead on the A68.

The castle from the access path:-

Crichton Castle

Castle and stables from minor road across the valley:-

Crichton Castle

The stables (or they may have been a slaughterhouse or chapel) from the castle:-

Crichton Castle Stables

Closer view of stables:-

Crichton Castle Stables Close View

View through stables:-

Crichton Castle, View Through Stables

View to castle through stables:-

Crichton Castle, Through Stables

Unusual “pointy” internal wall of castle, apparently Italian influenced:-

Crichton Castle, Internal Wall

Internal detail on stonework:-

Crichton Castle, Internal Detail

More detail:-

Crichton Castle, More Internal Detail

The castle contains Scptland’s first scale-and-platt (ie modern style) staircase:-

Crichton Castle  stairs

Crannog Interior

More from the reconstructed crannog at the Scottish Crannog Centre on Loch Tay.

The animal pen. Yes they kept their livestock inside:-

Animal Pen, Reconstructed Crannog, Loch Tay

Bed (elevated):-

Bed, Reconstructed Crannog, Loch Tay

Drying crops:-

Drying crops, Reconstructed Crannog, Loch Tay


Reconstructed Crannog, Loch Tay, Looking Out

Part of interior, Reconstructed Crannog, Loch Tay

Entrance from inside:-

Reconstructed Crannog, Loch Tay, Looking Out

The Scottish Crannog Centre

When we visited here we thought it would be a short visit but they put on a talk describing neolithic life and giving demonstrations of various sorts including making fire so we ended up taking nearly two hours. Not the least of the interesting titbits was that apparently midges don’t come out over the water. Those neolithic folk weren’t daft!

Reconstructed crannog entrance:-

Reconstructed Crannog Entrance, Loch Tay

Crannog walkway, right:-

Crannog Walkway, Loch Tay

Crannog walkway, left:-

Walkway on Reconstructed Crannog, Loch Tay

Reconstructed crannog from lochside:-

Crannog on Loch Tay

It’s surprisingly spacious inside. Interior panorama:-

Interior Panorama, Loch Tay Reconstructed Crannog


Hearth, Reconstructed Crannog, Loch Tay

Roof centre:-

Roof Centre, Reconstructed Crannog, Loch Tay


A crannog is an artificial island (or the remains of one) usually built out onto a loch (but sometimes a river or estuary) and dating from Neolithic times.

At The Scottish Crannog Centre, which lies on the western shores of Loch Tay not far from Kenmore, it says there are at least seventeen remnants of crannogs on Loch Tay alone.

In this photo, taken from the foot of Loch Tay at Kenmore, you can see the wooded remains of a crannog in the middle of the loch to the left and (just about) the recontructed crannog at the Crannog Centre to its right:-

Crannog and Loch Tay from Kenmore 1

Here’s a closer view, reconstructed crannog off to right:-

Old and New Crannog from Kenmore

Closer still:-

Two Crannogs from Kenmore 3

A different angle:-

Crannog on Loch Tay Kenmore 2

The reconstructed crannog:-

Reconstructed Crannog from Kenmore 1

Another, larger, crannog on the opposite shores of Loch Tay taken from the location of the reconstructed one:-

Crannog on Loch Tay Kenmore 1

Woolworth’s British Shop Fronts

Thanks to Duncan for this one.

A short history with photographs of British Woolworth’s shop fronts, whose heyday was of course in the Art Deco 1930s.

As Duncan says, an old Woolies is almost instantly recognisable.

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