MHG987 - Enclosure and/or hut circle - Garadh an Ratha


An enclosure and/or hut circle known as 'Garadh an Ratha'.

Type and Period (3)

  • ENCLOSURE (Undated)
  • (Alternate Type) HOMESTEAD (Undated)
  • HUT CIRCLE? (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

An enclosure and/or hut circle known as 'Garadh an Ratha'.

Garadh an Ratha (Cairn) (NR)
OS 6"map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1907)

Applies to the remains of a small, apparently unexcavated Pict's house round the base of which field stones have been thrown, forming a rough fence. <1>
Name Book 1873.

Garadh an Ratha is a pear-shaped enclosure of uncertain character, surrounded by the ruins of old crofts. <2>

Garadh an Ratha is an enclosure consisting of an encircling bank of earth and rubble stones, varying in height from 0.5m in W to 1.4m in E. Traces of a wall, some 0.8m thick, can be seen in the top of the bank, and must have been built on top of the earlier structure, possibly a cairn, because the interior contains many earthfast stones, some of which are very large. This surrounding wall may have been constructed from the cairn stones. A slight depression in centre of enclosure may define the limits of a burial chamber.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 6 November 1964.

Garadh an Ratha (NR) OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

Garadh an Ratha, an enclosure generally as described by the previous field investigator, measures 17m E-W by 10.5m N-S internally. The 'traces of a wall, 0.8m thick', noted by him are possibly contemporary with a nearby deserted crofting settlement, but this wall apparently overlies an earlier structure whose shape and function are uncertain. The interior is raised above the surrounding ground level, and is somewhat uneven, containing much turf-covered stone, including two earth- fast, upright slabs, and a scooped oval area, 10m E-W by 8.5m transversely and 0.3m deep, which may be a result of quarrying. The original form could therefore have been a mound, subsequently altered to form an enclosure, but classification as a cairn should be treated with caution. It may have been a homestead. The fact that the feature is named (Garadh an Ratha: Den or lair of the fort) suggests some tradition and therefore some antiquity.
Visited by OS (N K B) 11 December 1981.

The monument was Scheduled in 2017 by Historic Environment Scotland as a probably Iron Age roundhouse overlain by the remains of a later stone wall. <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred ND 0301 6070 (60m by 60m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND06SW
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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