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Papa Stour, Gorda Water, Meal Road

Road (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Papa Stour, Gorda Water, Meal Road

Classification Road (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 112990

Site Number HU16SE 47

NGR HU 1666 6119

NGR Description From HU 1666 6119 to HU 1712 6087

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Shetland Islands
  • Parish Walls And Sandness
  • Former Region Shetland Islands Area
  • Former District Shetland
  • Former County Shetland

Archaeology Notes

HU16SE 47 1666 6119 to 1712 6087

This monument comprises a stretch of 'meal' road, a track built as part of a 19th-century famine relief scheme. Flour or 'meal' was given as payment for the construction of these roads, which were often not strictly necessary, to avoid the stigma of charity.

Though many stretches of road and track built in such schemes throughout the Highlands and Islands in the mid to late 19th Century, very few survive in good condition without resurfacing. The survival of the Papa Stour examples (HU16SE 47 and HU16SE 48 ) can probably be attributed to their narrow gauge (designed for small carts and pack ponies rather than larger waggons) which prevented their being easily made up into motor roads, and simply the scarcity of motor transport on the small island into recent years.

This stretch is one of the two best-preserved. It runs for about 700m, from just S of the Loch That Ebbs & Flows to the crest of the low ridge W of Olligarth. Beyond this, to the E, it has been resurfaced but the line continues to join up with the network of tarred roads in public use. It is formed of rammed small stones, edged with larger blocks. It crosses the burn out of Gorda Water by a lintelled culvert. Just E of this, a short stretch of 20m is omitted from scheduling, because the structure has been effectively removed by recent activity. The width of the track is about 3m, but varies slightly. It is cut into the upper slope in places, and also occasionally embanked, and for short stretches is flanked by open ditches to carry off rainwater.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 14 May 1996.


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