MHG923 - Stone Rows - Upper Dounreay


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Full Description

Standing Stones (NR) OS 6"map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1907)

The stones are said to mark the graves of those killed in the 'Sandside Chase' (ND06NW 4: 15th century clan battle).
Name Book 1871.

The thirteen rows of stones in this monument appear to radiate generally to ESE from a group of four stones. These are arranged in an irregular square 4ft wide, and are between 1ft and 1ft 2ins long and the same in height above ground. The rows are about 100ft long and occupy an area some 44ft wide at the inner end and 115ft wide at the outer. The thin flat slabs which form the rows and which remain in situ appear to number 115 and are set on edge across the rows; they protrude about 1ft 6ins from the ground; the stones at the outer ends of the rows are larger. Some two thirds of the distance towards its broader extremity, the monument has been cut through by a road, and possibly a similar cause has destroyed the rows between the small square setting and their present commencement.
RCAHMS 1911.

The slabs now number about 100 and seem to form the remnants of 13 rows aligned WNW-ESE and originally contained perhaps 20 stones each. A cist-like setting of 4 slabs which lies just above them seems to provide a focus for at least some of the rows. <1>

The site was Scheduled in 1964.

Only 56 stones, mostly set on edge, can be seen protruding through the heather to a max height of 0.6m. They are neither hewn nor marked and do not conform to any definite shape.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 20 11 1964.

(ND 0117 6595) Stone Rows (NR) OS 6"map, (1969)

The stone rows, in a hollow on undulating moorland, have been considerably obscured by peat and heather growth since visit of RCAHMS, and only about six rows (less than half of the stones planned by the RCAHMS) can be traced. The southern rows have been almost entirely buried by the vegetation. The stones appear to radiate from the direction of two cairns which are situated on a ridge to the NW (see ND06NW 14).
Revised at 1:2500. Visited by OS (JB) 7 September 1969.

As surveyed in 1982, 36 upright stones were noted (compared with the 115 noted by Curle) with many other dislodged stones. The general axis of the monument and four or five of the stone alighnments can still be discerned but little else can now be said. Whether the massive change in condition on this site is the result of vandalism or gradual attrition is not clear but little trace of any catastrophic impact on the site is apparent. <2>

The site was re-scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland in 2016 to better reflect its extent and area of importance. <3> <4>

The GIS spatial data was amended in 2017 according to the new Scheduled area. <5>

Sources/Archives (9)



Grid reference Centred ND 0117 6597 (96m by 97m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND06NW
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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