A list of just some of the Brochs that are relatively easy to access around Caithness
Thing's Va Broch
A huge Broch site sitting on a hill west of Thurso. This broch was reused then by the Vikings, as their parliament, hence the name. It is also situated near Ravenshill, which could well have viking significane also. The thurso gallows were also situated near to this site, so it's an area steeped in local history. The walk to this site is from a layby on the main road, then up a signed track for around 0.8 of a mile. Total walk is 1 mile.
Loch Rangag Broch
A fascinating broch site situated on the loch at Rangag. It has the look of a Crannog with the built up peninsula. This site is commonly known as Greysteil Castle, an intriguing name. Greysteil was a medieval character in a poem, thought to have been written in the 1500s about a Knight, obviously named Sir Greysteil. In the tale he was an invincible, strong, agile knight, tainted with the black arts and eventually defeated by a magical sword provided by a powerful woman. He was rumoured to have extra fingers on his hands, and rode a big red horse. In real life this nickname was then given to 2 actual Scottish people, Archibald Douglas of Kilspindie and William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie.
Nybster Broch, situated in Auckengill, (between Keiss and John O Groats on the East coast of Caithness), It was uncovered in the 19th Century by Sir Francis Tress Barry. The walk to the Broch is straightforward, from a small carpark off the main road. The signage is not brilliant, which is something we can hopefully improve upon.
This one is halfway up a lovely walk along Dunbeath Strath. However signage is non existent for now. In the Gallery you can see a route image detailing which point to turn off the path. Once there you are rewarded with a secluded old Broch settlement, and can still gain access to a chamber.
Situated on the road from Thurso to Reay. At the site you will find ruins of a broch with preserved lower parts of the walls, and traces of the intramural staircase. Internal diameter of a broch is 10 m. This is one of the brochs we are putting interprative signage up on, with our funding won by Your Cash your Caithness.
Situated near the village of Latheron, this is one of the best Broch examples in Caithness, as can be evidenced by the images shown.
An Dun Broch
This rather broken down Broch site is situated with a view to die for. It rests atop a hill up Berriedale Strath, beside one of, if not the only remaining Yew trees in Caithness, (the Yew was a sacred tree to our ancestors). There are 2 other mounds on the site, possibly chambered cairns. This walk also takes you by an old village near the river, which was emptied during the Clearances. The stone used to build it looks to have been scavenged from the Broch, (something which often happened, stone being resused, unfortunately destroying ancient sites).
This a cracking Broch example, siuated on the banks of Loch Yarrows, above Thrumster. It was excavated by J Anderson in 1866/67. He found five bodies within, along with a brooch. This is an area rich in archaeology, with 2 long horn cairns and standing stones making up The Yarrows trail.
A large Broch site, which has mounds extending out from two sides, indicating other buildings. There is also the remains of a more recent settlement right beside it, the stone obviously removed from the broch to build it
Wag of Forse
A large and fascinating site, situated between Lybster and Latheron. A short walk over a couple of fields and walls, then you're greeted with this imposing structure. The aerial images clearly show the Broch structure, and then you can see the latee additions, the so called "wags". The Quarry is just a few yards away from the site, however some of the stonework is huge. How did they move these stones around?
There are actually several Brochs all within close proximity of one another in this location, all along the river bank, which would suggest this was a thriving settlement at one time.