Monday, 15 August 2011

Wheel-y Tired!

Dear reader, I'm exhausted! Despite my youthfulness and lack of obese-ness, I'm really very unfit. My day has tired me out, so if I seem to doze off and lose track of myself in the middle of this post, you'll know to blame my mother...

Yesterday afternoon wasn't so tiring. We went down to Coldbackie Beach and had a wander around there. No shark wrestling, no picturesque welly boots. Just me and my mum being a bit silly. You can see the results of our silliness in yesterday's blog post if you're curious - today I'll be sharing some of the more sensible photos.

This is the view across the beach which you see walking down the hill from the road. The sand dunes before the beach are about 20ft high, which is very impressive, and there's a stream that comes all the way down to the beach in wetter weather, parts of which make a very good flume (water slide).

This stream at the north end of the beach was pretty, but probably less enjoyable to slide down...

The high water mark is an interesting feature of this beach. It's seems that there is a stream which runs along the edge of the beach - that is, a counter current that runs at right angles to the direction of the tide. The effect of this is to create a sandbank at the edge of the water, which moves up the beach as the tide comes in, and gets left behind, like this, as it goes out.

Some interesting geological features as well - for example, part of this rocky outcrop was shaped and coloured just like me... Kidding. I think we were actually interested by the stripe of quartz in the rock behind me. However, I know nothing about geology, we just thought it was pretty.

There was also a massive cliff at the south end of the beach, about 100ft high, with this wee cave at the bottom. It doesn't go very far back, but its full of reeds that get washed in by the highest tides, and if it wasn't soaking wet, I imagine it would be quite a cosy bed...

Today's expedition was much further away. It's Dad's day off, so he went to play golf over at Durness, and he dropped us off in a place called Laid to go for a walk.

We headed from the tea room there, up the side a very pretty burn (stream), following a path marked by little heaps of stones, called cairns, and big long upright stones balanced in the top of cairns, or stood up by themselves.

The view of Loch Eriboll on the way up was incredible - I just wish I had a better camera for panorama shots.

Anyway, the main reason for our walk up and along the ridge was to see an Iron Age Wheelhouse. Now, I know absolutely nothing about the Iron Age, so instead of trying to say something intelligent off my own bat, I'll quote from a guide leaflet instead (entitled "Laid Heritage Trail" produced by Durness Community Council).

"A Wheel House is a dry stone dwelling house used in the Iron Age. Circular in construction with slabs of rock forming the basis of a roof, these slabs also appear to mark interior divisions of a family habitation."

"Considering its age of some 2000 years it is in excellent condition, one of the best preserved in Scotland. It measures 5.5 metres NE-SW by 5 metres NW-SE within its dry built wall, 1.1 metres thick and 1.4 metres high, with the entrance in the east. In the interior a circle of 7 [uprights] set at a distance of about 1 metre from the wall, one of which is lintelled and another partially with roofing slabs lying close by."

This particular Wheel House is the only one of its kind in the area, the rest are in Shetland, the Hebrides and Caithness, for the most part. Also, most of those are much lower down, and seem to be associated with other buildings. This one is high and isolated. The leaflet suggests "one explanation which can never be proved is that it was built by strangers, possibly from Caithness, who were only allowed this spot to make their home." Caithness is east of this area.

Can you imagine how much it would suck if you'd just walked miles and miles from your own home ranges, only to be told by your grumpy new neighbours that you had to go build your house a mile out the way and 900 metres further up hill. I might be moving soon and I have to say, I hope our new neighbours are nicer than that!

Daily picture of Mum, taking a picture of me taking a picture of her taking a picture of me taking a picture...

Love and hugs

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