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.