The Broch is very well preserved but perhaps the best thing about the site is the preservation of the buildings just outside the Broch. The walls of these are well over head height.
Despite the wind it was a sunny day and once sheltered from the wind inside the Broch it was pleasantly warm. Dafydd, Sophie and myself walked amongst the ruins whilst Karen sat in the car to read her book!
There were quite a few visitors and of the H.S. guides was giving a talk but with the two little ones in tow I didn’t get change to have a listen.
After visiting the Broch we had some time on the beach which we all enjoyed.
Brochs are not my strong point, having only ever visited Carlway on Lewis previously, but Gurness was something to behold. The sheer amount of archaeological remains were stunning; evidence of buildings left, right and centre! I could see how the whole village worked, with the defensive structure (with possible kennels at the front doors!) surrounded by what appear to be domestic houses. Looking across the Eynhallow Sound to Rousay from Gurness, to the site of other brochs (and the location on Mid Howe) gave a real sense of perspective and we spent a good couple of hours mooching round the site. On the beach, Vicky even braved the elements and went for a paddle and we found what appeared to be cup marks in the natural stone shelves.
Broch of Gurness, Orkney Mainland
Tuesday- up early and headed first down to the Broch of Gurness. A great broch with lots of small dwelling houses around it. The entrance to the broch was impressive- solidly built structure- there's no messing with this place! There was one part that totally fascinated me though, and that was the so-called well in the middle of the broch itself. Unfortunately there's a Historic Scotland green railing all the way round it making it almost impossible to climb into- well- to stop over-inquisitive idiots like myself from falling in and causing much injury to themselves. Still- didn't stop me lying on the floor of the broch and hanging over the edge and into the hole of the so-called well itself. See- the thing is- half way down the steps in the well is an alcove to sit in and I just got the feeling that this structure was used as more than a means of getting waterÉ..
After going round the broch with our guide book we walked along Aikerness beach for a bit and the first thing I saw on the beach was a rather nice cowrie shell. However further hunting proved fruitless and it appeared to be the only one!
When looking at the well picture it as first excavated, at the base of a 15' stairway with 18 steps between the top and bottom landings. In 1932 they had to crawl in backwards ! Removal of two unbonded steps revealed a hidden chamber - is this the kind of thing one should expect at Mine Howe perhaps ?