HU4523 : Broch of Mousa from Burgi Ayre

taken 11 years ago, 3 km from Sandwick, Shetland Islands, Great Britain

Broch of Mousa from Burgi Ayre
Broch of Mousa from Burgi Ayre
A view at sea-level back to the Broch of Mousa. The distant cliffs are No Ness on Mainland, Shetland.

The island of Mousa lies off the eastern coast of Mainland, Shetland. It is about 0.7 miles˛ (180 ha) in area, divided in two by the isthmus between West and East Ham inlets. The two parts are simply named North Isle and South Isle, the latter being by far the larger of the two. The highest point on the island is at Mid Field where it rises to a maximum height of 180' (55m)
There are two comparatively large pools on the southeast of the island named East and West Pool which are isolated from the sea at low tide.
The name of the island derives from Mósey, the Old Norse for "Mossy Island". It is pronounced "Moose-a" (i.e. like the elk rather than the small rodent !).
Though now uninhabited, in 1774 it had a population of 70, and there were still people living here well into the C19th. There are the remains of several crofts, a more substantial farm and the Old Haa, the former laird's house. But the most remarkable and famous structure on the island is its Broch, the best preserved such structure in the World. (See separate description for Mousa Broch)

Broch of Mousa

The Broch of Mousa is considered to be the best preserved broch anywhere in the world. It stands a few yards from the western coast of the Isle of Mousa looking across Mousa Sound towards Sandwick on Mainland, Shetland. It is thought to be unusually massive for a broch, and this together with its remote and isolated location and particularly sturdy construction have probably been the main factors in its survival in such good condition.
It is about 2000 years old making it date from the Iron Age period which in Scotland and the Northern Isles coincides with the Pictish period, though in Shetland the influences have always been largely Norse or Scandinavian.
Although at 44'(13m) thought to be unusually tall, its diameter, and in particular, its inner diameter is unusually narrow, giving it great solidity and strength which have no doubt helped it endure. It is shaped as a narrowly tapering frustum of a cone with a slight widening again at the top. This makes it remarkably similar in shape to the cooling towers associated with electricity generating stations.
The visitor can enter the central chamber, and climb up a stone staircase between the inner and outer walls. This staircase allows views into the interior of the broch through several internal windows, though there are no external ones. The staircase eventually leads out to a wall walk along the circumference of the top of the tower, thankfully with tall enough external walls to prevent plummeting! There is a strong grille over the central opening to avoid any similar fate on the inside.

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HU4523, 77 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 30 August, 2011   (more nearby)
Thursday, 24 November, 2011
Geographical Context
Coastal  Islands 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! HU 4572 2365 [10m precision]
WGS84: 59:59.7104N 1:10.9346W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! HU 45805 23864
View Direction
South-southwest (about 202 degrees)
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