It is just a fraction over seven years since I last came here. With an Ordnance Survey map it is easy enough to find. There is a small parking area, space enough for the trickle of people who arrive to explore. This is a ‘pre-history’ site, which, you reach by an easy sloped climb; you can choose between two or three different approaches, although one approach would certainly depend on whether there’s a bull in one of the fields and/or cows with young calves. Dads can jealously guard their ladies and in any case, bovine mums and dads can be very protective of their broods. So,definitely, no waving red rags to a bull.
The pictures I took back in 2009 were with an early bridge camera that had an unsophisticated limited zoom lens. Even so, it is so interesting to compare the yesterday, (2009) and today, (2016) photos and see the very marked modern man-made changes in that period sat on top of, and next to, the signs of time immemorial.
There are five cairns at this site, none uncovered. The outlines of three are straightforward enough to see. The roof of the highest cairn (height as in top of the hill) appears to have caved in, creating a rim on which, weather permitting, you can rest. On a clear day you can also gaze upon the panorama of two counties and their mountains, plus an island twenty-one miles across the water, as you will see.
This a serene view from the top of the hill in 2009 and the picture below it, (allowing for differences of time, position, general weather conditions and the light) is a similar scene ….. and
….this is how it has changed…and changed…
This photo also shows the sweep down from the ‘high cairn’ to a lower sited cairn, (the rounded mound on which there’s another modern day intrepid explorer).
This was a ‘tentative’ coastline wind farm development, in 2009. There are more wind turbines now. The two wind farms are not far from one another.
I did not want to focus on the wind farm, (the one above) in the picture below. I wanted to show the view of Orkney across the water. It is some distance away, you may need to peer in, but, it is there to be seen, to the right.
The yellow flowering bushes in these pictures are Gorse bushes.
Morven and Scaraben are the mountains in the county of Caithness. This looks like Morven peaking up and over the horizon in 2009.
This is The County of Sutherland, also in 2009, pre-turbine days, from the same vantage point. If I am not much mistaken, you can see a couple of the Bens (mountains), amongst the clouds, Ben Loyal and Ben Hope.
At the cairn, I was at the same level as the top of these wind turbines, (excluding the upper windmill arms). It was quite a thought. The miniature buildings, (left) give some sense of scale.
You can see the concave cairn I have been talking about and a typical horn sloping along from what would have been the dome. This is the one from where you get all the great views. You can see a difference in the relatively richer looking grass on and around the cairn, in comparison to the rough moorland tufts on the ascent to it. The new heather blossom is bonny just now.
Taken from the cairn, and some distance away, the land meets the sea. Stubble is being burnt off the field . There are hay bales in one of the other fields. Across the Firth (sea) is the coastline of the county of Sutherland and signs of village habitation.