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Loch Of Wasdale

Chapel (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Loch Of Wasdale

Classification Chapel (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 2156

Site Number HY31SW 8

NGR HY 3432 1473

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/2156

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Firth
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY31SW 8 3432 1473.

(HY 3432 1473) Chapel (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map, Orkney, 2nd ed., (1903).

A chapel is said to have stood on a small islet near the southern end of Loch Wasdale. No remains are to be seen except for some embedded stones, possibly the remains of a bulding. Ashes and burnt bones were dug up 'some years ago'. (Name Book 1880)

There are no traces of a graveyard (J Fraser 1927), but the Commission agrees that there was a building 'of unknown character' on the islet.(RCAHMS 1946). The latter may be artificial. (F O Blundell 1913).

(Undated) information in OS archaeology records.

An island measuring 36.0 m. NW-SE by 24.0 m. transversely at normal water level, situated 35.0 m. from the east shore of the Loch of Wasdale, and connected to it, when the level of the loch is low, by a causeway of large flat stones, 1.0 m. to 1.5 m. wide.

A flat-topped oval mound, measuring 28.0 m. NW-SE by 22.0 m. transversely and 1.2 m. high, occupies most of the island. It is surmounted by a ruined building and enclosure incorporating a modern cairn. At the west side of the mound, at the edge of the island, are traces of a curved drystone wall of large broch-like stones, 0.3 m. maximum height. At the SE end of the island, cutting it off from the causeway, is a stone wall now reduced to a height of 0.8 m., incorporating the probable remains of a 'boat harbour' at its north extremity.

It is not possible to classify this feature without excavation, but it is primarily defensive, and is reminiscent of the causewayed island duns of the Outer Hebreides.

No trace remains of a chapel but the tradition is known locally. Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 9 May 1966.

Too overgrown to see all the detail but the modern cairn stands on a prominent probably ancient mound atop the main mound. Very big quarried blocks lying about, where the causeway enters the islet the main mound which has a steep edge seems to have an 'apron' in front of it, like the 'landing-stages' at Huxter (HU56SE 1) and Clickhim in (HU44SE 2)

Visited by Dr R G Lamb, July 1980.

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