Battle Moss, Loch Of Yarrows

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Looking south along the Battle Moss, Loch of Yarrows stone alignment (Scale 1m).

Location

Scotland Caithness Northern Scotland ND 31290 44019
Lat 58.37928512   Long-3.17657267

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Plan of the Battle Moss stone alignment (Source: Ruggles, C.L.N.)

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Plan of Battle Moss, Loch of Yarrows by H Dryden & R.I.S. August 9 1871. 

Source: http://canmore.org.uk/collection/1437038.

Characteristics

Type: Multiple Length: 117m
No. of stones: 160 Size of stones: Small and medium
Orientation: 0° Altitude: 97m
Upper end: – Lower end: Cairn
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: Yes
Context:  Broadly contemporary funerary landscape.
Notes: 8 rows. Excavated. The largest standing stone is 0.38m high. Composed mainly of small stones.

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes
Land Status:
Scheduled Ancient Monument: Yes

Identification

Category: Plausible.  No doubts have been expressed regarding the prehistoric interpretion of this row.


Photographs

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Looking northward along one of the rows towards the associated cairn (Scale 1m).

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This is one of the largest stones. Many of the stones within the rows are edge set slabs (Scale 1m).

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Most of the stones within the rows are tiny (Scale 1m).

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Limited but very helpful clearance of the vegetation made it possible to see some of the tiny stones (Scale 1m).

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View from north of stones exposed by vegetation clearance (Scale 1m).

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View from above and north (Scale 1m).

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View from above and north. Some of the stones are so small they could have been erected by a single individual in a few minutes. The rows were clearly never intended to be seen from a distance and would never have made a significant architectural upon the landscape in which they were erected.

 

Landscape Context

The Battle Moss stone alignment sits within a rich early prehistoric landscape including several chambered cairns and standing stones. Many, but not all of these sites appear on the skyline. Of particular interest is the prominent standing stone pair at Whiteleen. The alignment of the rows combined with the considerable width of the monument means that the visual appearance of the stones constantly changes as you walk along the rows.  These changes may have been of significance to the row builders and have influenced the choice and layout of the monument. The alignment is situated on a ridge that slopes downwards towards the west and north thus maximising the opportunities for subtle changes in what can be seen from different parts of the site.

wp-battle-moss-2The Whiteleen stone pair viewed from the south western part of the alignment.

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The Whiteleen stone pair viewed from the south eastern part of the alignment.

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The Whiteleen stone pair viewed from the north eastern part of the alignment. The stones have fully “merged” together.

The view to the SSW is particularly significant. Here on Warehouse Hill there are three chambered cairns, two of which are in a prominent position on the skyline. Close by a standing stone is clearly silhouetted against the sky. It may be no coincidence that the non-skyline chambered cairn sits directly below the western of the summit cairns. Two chambered long cairns are also visible above South Yarrows Farm from the alignment and whilst they are not on the sky line they are prominently positioned. Finally, the skyline southward is dominated by a pair of round cairns and the Whiteleen stone pair. Less obvious is the McCole’s Castle chambered cairn.  The alignment has sea views and these will be considered separately.

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Cairns and standing stone on Warehouse Hill. View from the alignment.

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The pair of chambered long cairns above South Yarrows Farm. View from the alignment.

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Looking due south from the alignment the Whiteleen standing stone pair and two cairns appear prominently on the skyline. Less obvious but still visible is McCole’s Castle chambered cairn. The relative positions of these features will inevitably alter as one walks along the rows.

Access Information

Car parking is available at ND 30598 43565. This car park serves the Loch of Yarrows Archaeological Trail. Follow the path downhill towards the loch passing a broch on your left at ND 30831 43495. Follow the side of the loch to ND 31275 44000 where a gate provides access to the stone row. There are several broadly contemporary archaeological sites in the area which are all worth visiting.


Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Canmore     Historic Environment Record     Caithness Field Club Bulletin

Other References

Burl, A., 1993, From Carnac to Callanish – The prehistoric rows and avenues of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press, New York and London, pg. 222.

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