A record of our ancient Brochs, Hill-forts and Sculptured Stones of Scotland

Yarrows Broch


N.M.R. number:- ND34SW1 Highland HER number:- MHG42399   OS Grid Ref:- ND30834349  SCHEDULED



Site Description:-

Yarrows stands on the south shoreline of Loch of Yarrows. The complex site is now flooded or waterlogged due to the damming of the loch. There are clear views around. The site is of mixed preservation although all the main features are clearly visible. A gallery has been mentioned in the NE quadrant but is not immediately visible. It was excavated from a green mound by J Anderson 1866-7 and the finds are in NMS.

The site forms part of The Yarrows Archaeological Trail and is accessed from the car park near to the farm. The tenants privacy should be respected and livestock will be around the site and trail.


Major Structural Notes:-

The outside diameter is 16m with a 10m original inside diameter. Subsequent alterations have included wall-thickening and an additional access in the south, evidence suggests that the eastern entrance was the original one. There are spaces over the inner entrance and stair access. The stair and accompanying gallery outer wall seem to have been broken through to create the second entrance. A second gallery entrance is in the west quadrant and leads to a cell on the left and a gallery on the right. The external wall was seen to be still standing to over 4m at the time of excavation.


 Associated Structures:-

Both entrances lead into a series of later structures in the south-east. These are usually described as wags – similar to features at The Wag of Forse just north of Latheron. These structures are also flooded as is the surrounding ditch/moat to the south.


Site Setting:-

The broch sits amidst good arable land on the southern edge of the loch. It is in a busy archaeological landscape including tombs, stone rows, a fort, mesolithic sites to the north and, over the southern skyline, another busy landscape. This is, after all, Caithness.

The nearest brochs are those of Thrumster Mains about 3Km to the north-east and, to the east several straddling the A99.


Special Mentions:-

The wall has been thickened on the inside by 1m. Amongst the unusual finds were :- a bronze Christian armband, a bronze wire armlet and several human skeletons.


Sources: Site visits, Highland HER and RCAHMS Canmore database,PSAS 75 and Archaeologica Scotica vol 5.