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Archaeology Week - Caithness Programme
Pictures from 22 October 2000 
Cairn of Get, Garrywhin Hill Fort, Cairns Broch, Circles, Warehouse, Stone
led by Gordon Wilson of Caithness Field Club

This was the last of the days for Archaeology week in Caithness - part of a Highland Wide week of events.  The day was led by Gordon Wilson of Caithness Field Club.  Field Club members know this area very well from outings led by Gordon in the past.  Over the years Gordon has built up a very detailed knowledge of the history of the area.  Starting out at Whaligoe he led the group past the old Station House which still stands as evidence of the Wick - Lybster Railway.  However just round the corner in the first field Gordon pointed out what many people miss on their way to the Cairn of Get - the platform and track used by the former railway.  The pictures below show the platform and line of the track.

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Starting the walk here and then moving up the hill Gordon led a circular tour of the hill area pointing out the water courses that took
him a long time to work out.  They form a complex system of supplying the former mill at Whaligoe with the necessary water for power.  The pond at Whaligoe is to be seen from the main road beside the building and often has ducks and swans using it.  Gordon pointed out one of the sluice gates made from stone and which would originally have had a wooden gate supported by the stone pillars.  Also checked out stone circles along the way.

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Then on to the Warehouse which gives its name to Warehouse Hill and was on the route of the old drovers track.  There is a field or enclosure surrounded by a drystane wall which has been built on top of an earlier wall probably iron age.  The older wall is still visible and is clear because the stones are place vertically.  This was the way walls were built thousands of years ago.  The later wall was just added using the line as it already enclosed an area which because of the small hill gave some shelter to animals enclosed.

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Examining old Farm Buildings

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Wall round enclosure at
Warehouse.  Bottom Stones show old wall probably iron age.

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Apart from the Cairn of Get other stone circles and cairns were visited.  In a very small area there is a huge amount of evidence for habitation in the area covering iron age, neolithic and many periods up to the present day.  The area is probably at one of the lowest in population terms now than it has been for many hundreds if now thousands of years.

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Gordon Wilson seated

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Neolithic Standing Stone

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Railway Cottage from Broch

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Chambered Cairn
About the same age as
Cairn of Get

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Cairn of Get

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Cairn of Get

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Cairn on top of Hill
The modern pile is not relevant.
About 4000 BC

cairnhilltop2.jpg (39843 bytes)

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The Dam above the Cairn of Get.
Probably for water for mill at Whaligoe.  could have been used for water in the area for hundreds of years in earlier periods.

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The portal stones of the hill fort at Garrywhin still stand from the Iron Age

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The Hill fort is late Iron Age
period.  It may have been for cattle as it would have taken huge numbers to defend it.

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The speculation is that the fort
was used to keep cattle although it is marked as a fort on maps


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Passing the Railway cottage at the end of the circular route.

Along the way Gordon pointed out many other interesting features such as the Lime Kilns.  The walk also passes a small loch which has fish and in summer has an increasing reed bed which is threatening to choke the whole water surface.  This had died away for the winter but returns each spring.

Caithness Field Club Winter Programme