Groat’s Loch, South

View from the east (Scale 1m).

A single stone row measuring 22m long, including at least 4 small and medium-sized stones situated in a small confined valley on the lower slopes of Warehouse Hill. The row is orientated NNE to SSW. Single rows are unusual in Northern Scotland.  The row forms part of a cluster including at least 9 stone rows near Loch Watenan and has definable visual links with the sea, nearby cairns, chambered cairns and stone rows.

Location

Scotland Caithness Northern Scotland ND 31023 40658
Lat 58.34906284   Long -3.18012936  

Map showing the location of Groat’s Loch, South stone row.

Plan of Groat’s Loch, South stone row (Source: Survey by Sandy Gerrard at 1:200).

Map showing the position of Groat’s Loch South, the other stone rows and other sites around Watenan (Source: Canmore). 

Characteristics

Type: Single Length: 22m
No. of stones: 4 Size of stones: Small and medium
Orientation: 35° Altitude: 125m
Upper end: – Lower end: –
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: Yes
Context:  Cairns
Notes: Deep peat accumulation may be hiding further stones.

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes
Land Status:
Scheduled Ancient Monument: No

Identification

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


Typology

This stone row is of Type S9. Information on this form of stone row and other rows of this type is available here.


Photographs

Looking south along the row (Scale 1m). 

The row and Cairn Hanach chambered cairn. The chambered cairn is not visible from the row but is visible nearby from ND 31035 40663. If the row originally extended to this point some 15m from the northernmost stone the cairn would be at the limit if visibility. Only excavation could resolve this question. View from higher ground to the south east (Scale 1m).

Looking SSW along the row. The metal fencing post denotes the position of Stone 2. Stone 1 is in the foreground and Stone 3 beyond.

Stone 3 in the foreground and Stone 1 in the background. View from the SSW.

Individual Stones

Plan showing the position of the numbered stones.

Stone 1 measures 0.76m long by 0.14m wide stands 0.40m high and is orientated at 38°. View from south east (Scale 1m).

Stone 2 measures 0.25m long by 0.10m wide stands 0.06m high and is orientated at 30°. View from east (Scale 1m).

Stone 2 beside the ranging rod and stone 1 beyond. View from south west (Scale 1m).

Stone 3 measures 0.38m long by 0.26m wide stands 0.52m high and is orientated at 29°. View from west (Scale 1m).

Stone 3 in the foreground and stone 1 beyond. View from SSW (Scale 1m).

Stone 4 measures 0.38m long by 0.12m wide stands 0.15m high and is orientated at 24°. View from south east (Scale 1m).

Stone 4 in the foreground and stones 1 and 3 beyond.

Landscape Comment

View of the mountains north of Helmsdale from Stone 1. As you proceed south along the row the vista opens up considerably.

View of the mountains north of Helmsdale from Stone 2.

View of the mountains north of Helmsdale from Stone 3.

22m from the first stone the vista has grown considerably.  The mountains could have been used to track the sunsets in the early and late months of the year, but of course there is no way of knowing whether this ever happened. 

Seascape Comment

At Stone 1 the sea is visible to the south and separately to the north east. As you walk southward along the row the amount of sea visible varies considerably.  The view to the north east completely disappears and that to the south gets smaller and changes in shape before finally a fresh sea triangle is revealed.

The row is situated behind a small hill which restricts views of the sea.  It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this siting is deliberate and the builders were seeking to ensure limited sea view visibility. View from west. 

Sea view from Stone 1 facing south.

Sea View from Stone 1 facing north east.

Sea view from Stone 2 facing south.

Sea View from Stone 2 facing north east.

Sea view from Stone 3 facing south.

Stone 3 is at the limit of visibility to the north eastern sea view. Beyond this point it is no longer visible.

As if by magic the north eastern sea view is replaced by a fresh sea triangle on the left at Stone 4. This type of visual link between rows and the seascape is one that is repeated from the far south to the far north of Great Britain and provides powerful circumstantial evidence that the rows were built to form a significant place within the natural landscapes.

Access Information

Car parking is available at ND 31885 40851. Follow the signposting to the Cairn O’ Get. The stone row is situated about 550m to the south of the Cairn O’Get across uneven open moorland.


Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Canmore


Timeline

VISITED:- 9th August 2014 and 3rd June 2019.

FIRST PUBLISHED:- 13th February 2016

LAST UPDATED:- 21st November 2020

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