Wideford and Cuween Hills

Bay of Firth from Wideford Hill
Bay of Firth from Wideford Hill

We spent one morning finding holes for John to climb in and out of! The cairn half way up Wideford Hill is a communal tomb dating back to 3000 BC. There’s a box with a torch to help you down the ladder, but I didn’t like the idea of that trapdoor accidentally closing over me so stayed outside. Our intrepid explorer had no such worries:

It’s not a very pleasant climb from the tomb to the top of the hill – lots of stumbling over huge clumps of heather – but the views are rewarding. It’s interesting that the hill was part of an ancient communication system – the site of one of a chain of beacons which would be lit to warn of attacks – and serves a similar function today (well, communication not the attacks). The engineer took a great interest in the different antennae at the radio transmitting station. I continued to enjoy the views.

At the other side of Bay of Firth is Cuween Hill with another Neolithic chambered cairn. Again, I declined to enter – too low!

As we approached the hill, it had looked as though there were standing stones on the top. This seemed odd as we knew there weren’t any – it turned out to be a large number of modern cairns built behind the tomb. Who made them and why are they there? I have no idea – I can’t find an explanation online (though admittedly, I haven’t spent too long looking) or in any of the guidebooks.

In my next Orkney post I terrify myself with memories of 19 years ago.