MHG1624 - Berriedale Water


No summary available.

Type and Period (4)

  • HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2400 BC to 560 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Undated)
  • WHEEL HOUSE (Undated)

Protected Status

Full Description

Carn Tighe Chreagaich (NAT) Wag (NR)
(ND 0891 2941) Wag (NR)
(ND 0875 2949 and ND 0877 2947) Enclosures (NR)
(ND 0888 2940) Hut Circle (NR)
(ND 0892 2937) Wheelhouse (NR)
OS 6" map, (1963)

Near Braemore, on a low hillock about 1/4 mile E of the deer fence E of Achnalaid, and on the S side of the Berriedale Water, are the remains of a galleried structure (A). On plan it is a circular enclosure, measuring internally 23 by 26ft with a wall some 6ft in thickness, and an entrance from the E, having towards the NE an oblong projection measuring 34 by 16ft internally. Along both sides of this wing have been galleries, the pillars of which have been placed at about 4ft distant from the side walls, and from 3ft 6ins in width between the rows on either side. As in the corresponding structure at Langwell, this wing appears to have been separated from the main enclosure by a partition wall through which there was a doorway. Around the wall of the circle there seems also to have been a gallery, two pillars of which remain in situ, standing some 2ft 6ins above present ground level.
In the same situation. but nearer the river, are the remains of another structure of the same kind but of different plan (B). It appears to have consisted of two circular or sub-oval enclosures, the one opening out of the back of the other, and having their longest axes in alignment. The largest circle measures some 25 by 26ft internally and is entered from the SSE through a passage 9ft in length and 3ft 6ins in width. Through the wall at the back, an opening some 3ft 10ins in width gave access to the smaller circle, which measures 19 by 17ft internally. Around the larger circle, one or two pillars remain in situ, and several large slabs lie prone in the interior. In the smaller circle, though no pillars remain, a number of large stones lie near the base of the wall. The wall of the whole construction is about 1ft 6ins in maximum height. In the wall of the smaller circle on the E side is a small circular chamber, about 5ft in diameter. To the NW are the indefinite remains of what may have been another chamber, while in the immediate vicinity are various indeterminate foundations.
Some 100 yds back from the S bank of th river, and about the same distance E of the deer fence, are the remains of a pear-shaped enclosure (C), in the wall of which very large slabs have been used sunk deeply end-wise into the ground. It measures 35 by 27ft internally and has an entrance in the N. The wall seems to have been about 5ft 6ins in thickness and to have been formed of turf between an inner and outer facing of large stones which alone remain. On the right of what appears to have been the entrance, and within the interior, is a small circular chamber, 5ft in internal diameter.
On a slight elevation some 80ft to the E is another similar construction (D), the wall face of which is formed of large slabs set on end, protruding about 2ft from the ground. It is some 30ft in internal diameter.
RCAHMS 1911.

These structures are generally as described by the RCAHMS. (A): Carn Tighe Chraegaich, at ND 0888 2936, a 'wag', appears to overlie the circular structure, which may have been a round aisled-house. Abutting the latter on the SW side is a course of stones outlining a small compartment.
The second structure (B), at ND 0891 2941, is the badly mutilated remains of another 'wag' measuring 32 by 11m overall.
Hut circles 'C' and 'D', at ND 0875 2949 and ND 0877 2947 respectively, are as described by the RCAHMS. Traces of two possible compartments abut the NE side of 'D'.
Most of the 'cairns' as published on the original OS 6" map, Caithness, 1st ed., appear to be natural mounds, but the description could equally have been applied to the nearby 'wags'.
At ND 0888 2940 are the remains of a hut circle (E) formed by a course of stones, measuring 6.2 by 5.5m; and at ND 0892 2937 are the remains of another hut circle (F), 5.5m in diameter with an entrance 0.5m wide in the NE. It has been slightly scooped into the hillside on the S and many stones lie within.
Visited by OS (W D J) 18 June 1960.

A settlement comprising the remains of six structures as described by the RCAHMS and the previous OS field suveryor. Structure 'C' may also be the remains of a 'wag' or homestead.
There is no associated field system, but the vague remains of a field wall may indicate an enclosing wall around the settlement.
Surveyed at 1:2500.
Visited by OS (N K B) 21 March 1968.

(Centred ND 088 294) Settlement (NR)
OS 25" map, (1970)

This is a settlement comprising the ruins of six dwellings of varying types (A - F), now overgrown with turf and heather.
'A', named Carn Thighe Chreagaich, is a 'wag' or homestead comprising a round house and contiguous subrectangular house, both of which are aisled. It is generally as described by the RCAHMS, and has been severely robbed, particularly on the E side of the circle where presumably the entrance was situated. The 'small compartment' on the SW side noted by OS field surveyor (W D J) appears to be a fortuitous arrangement of tumble.
'B' is also a 'wag' or homestead, similar in some respects to 'A', but comprising three elements, namely from SE to NW, a circular house, a smaller house connected by a passage, and a subrectangular house at a lower level than the others. The larger circular house is aisled, and two of the aisles are formed each by two pillars radial and in line. The interior is full of stone debris including a displaced lintel slab. Part of the outer, and most of the inner wall faces are exposed, the latter up to 0.6m high and crudely coursed. The smaller house shows no wall faces and no supporting pillars, but there are a number of large stones lying about the interior, and it seems probable that it too was aisled. There is no evidence of the 'small circular chamber' on the E side noted by the RCAHMS. The subrectangular house appears to be overlaid by the smaller round house. The only stones which can be seen to be in situ are wall facings in the NW; there are no pillar stones visible but similar constructions in Caithness have invariably been aisled - eg.
homestead 'A'.
'C' appears to have been a subrectangular homestead, but it has been heavily robbed, notably on the E side where all that remains is a turf and heather-covered spread of boulders with no certain wall-face exposed. Elsewhere the inner face of boulders is visible intermittently up to a height of 0.9m, and one or two similar outer facing-stones remain, indicating a wall thickness of around 2.0m. Internally, the homestead measures 12.8m NNW-SSW by approximately 5.0m transversely;
the entrance was probably in the N. No uprights remain to suggest an aisled construction, and there is a limited amount of internal debris. The small, circular, mural chamber described by the RCAHM cannot be identified. The boulder-faced construction and state of preservation of 'D' is similar to homestead 'C', and it too is best described as a homestead rather than a hut circle, despite the fact that it appears circular, some 8.5m in internal diameter. Little wall core material remains, but about eight facing-stones are visible up to 0.4m high, suggesting a wall thickness of 1.4 to 1.7m. No entrance can be seen. There is much debris outside the homestead on the N side extending down the natural slope for a distance of 10.0m. Again there is no evidence
of aisles.
'E' is much robbed, surviving as a turf and heather-covered platform fringed by four or five boulder slabs and a minimal quantity of wall debris. It measures about 5.0m in diameter; the entrance is not discernible, but it must have been in the E arc. Superficially this feature resembles a hut circle, but the mutilation is so great that it may have been as complex as the others in the group.
'F' is also circular, about 4.5m in diameter within a wall about 1.6m thick and 0.6m high at the entrance. The whole of the interior is choked with boulders and some rubble stones, but no upright pillars can be seen. The amount of debris is sufficient to suggest that there was a complex roofing arrangement either supported by stone pillars, which may be destroyed or buried, or by a corbelling system; the internal diameter is small enough to allow a corbelled roof.
Apart from traces of a partly buried field wall, there is no evidence of land use contemporary with the settlement.
Revised at 1:2500.
Visited by OS (N K B) 6 December 1982.

Braemore (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9577.

Hut Circle, Braemore (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9589.

Wag, Braemore, Caithness (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9594.

Wags & Wheelhouses, Braemore (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9584.

Wheelhouse, Braemore (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9583.

Wheelhouse, Braemore, external structures (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9588.

Wheelhouses, Braemore (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9575.

RCAHMS, 1911, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness, 64, 68-9, Nos. 234, 252-3 (Text/Report). SHG2664.

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred ND 087 294 (489m by 238m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND02NE
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

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