Saints and Stones: Ousdale Broch

Ousdale Broch, also known as Ousdale Burn or Allt a' Bhurg (Scots Gaelic: 'stream of the fort') Broch, is an Iron Age broch classified as a 'second-phase' broch, dating to the 3rd to 2nd century B.C.

The broch has a solid base and an external diameter of around 52 feet (16 meters), with some walls still reaching over 10 feet (3 meters) in places. The main entrance is on the southwest, and the passageway, which retains almost all of its original roofing lintels, measures 14 feet (4.3 meters) long, 5.8 feet (1.78 meters) high, and 2.5 feet (75 cm) in width.

The entrance passage contains two sets of door-checks, and there is also a guard cell. The central court has an internal diameter of around 23 feet (7 meters), and there is a doorway leading to an intramural stairway similar to other brochs in Scotland. A ditch may have surrounded the structure, and there are some indications of outbuildings.

About the Ousdale Broch

Caithness Broch Project: Ousdale Broch
Wikipedia: Ousdale Broch
Camore: Ousdale Broch

Journey to the Ousdale Broch

Situated near the small settlement of Ousdale on the A9 in Caithness, the broch is 3.5 miles northeast of Helmsdale. There is a new car park and path leading from the A9. Construction of a gravel path to the broch has improved access to the broch. The path to the broch takes approximately 20 minutes, although the climb back up to the car park takes a bit longer. Extensive conservation work was overseen by the Caithness Broch Project. In addition, there are a number of interpretation panels produced by the Project along the path, giving the history of the area and details of the broch.

Streetmap UK NGR ND07131881.

Visitors Information

Visitors information for the Ousdale Broch may be found at the Caithness Broch Project website. General tourist information for the area may be found on the Visit Scotland: Caithness and North Coast Sutherland Area website.

Additional Photos of the Ousdale Broch

Welcome to Caithness Sign on A9 Road
Ousdale Broch Sign on A9 Road
Start of Trail to Ousdale Broch
Descriptive Sign at Start of Trail to Ousdale Broch
Trail to Ousdale Broch
Approaching Ousdale Broch
Entrance to Ousdale Broch
Close-Up of Entrance to Ousdale Broch
Entering Ousdale Broch
Inside Entrance to Ousdale Broch
Interior of Ousdale Broch
Cell in Ousdale Broch
Cell in Ousdale Broch
Close-Up of Cell in Ousdale Broch
Interior Stairs in Ousdale Broch
Looking Down the Interior Stairs in Ousdale Broch
Leaving Ousdale Broch

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