Battle Moss, Loch Of Yarrows

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

A fan-shaped multiple stone row possibly measuring up to 117m long, including at least 160 small and medium-sized stones arranged in at least 8 separate lines and situated on a very gentle north facing slope with restricted sea views to the north east. Excavation has revealed that the stones were placed in carefully prepared sockets, were probably erected over a period and many had fallen in antiquity. No dating evidence was recovered. The row is orientated north to south, points north at a nearby cairn and stands in an area with other standing stones and chambered cairns.


Scotland Caithness Northern Scotland ND 31289 44010
Lat 58.379106   Long -3.1765884

Map showing the location of Battle Moss, Loch of Yarrows stone row.


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

Battle Moss canmore_image_dp00195313

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



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


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


This stone row is of Type M10. Information on this form of stone row and other rows of this type is available here.


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

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

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

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

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

View from above and north (Scale 1m).

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.


VISITED:- 2nd September 2016

FIRST PUBLISHED:- 13th February 2016

LAST UPDATED:- 10th February 2018

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