Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

SC2830: Garrywhin  

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HER:  Highland HER MHG2199

NMR:  ND 34 SW 3 (9034)

SM:  548

NGR:  ND 3125 4137

X:  331253  Y:  941377  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

This fort occupies a relatively low but steep sided ridge in the moorland to the W of Ulbster, which rises in a series of such ridges to the larger bulk of Warehouse Hill. Oval on plan, it measures about 180m from NNE to SSW by 55m transversely (0.85ha) within a single stone wall generally some 2.25m thick. Long stretches of the outer face are visible, in one place standing up to 1m in high in six courses. There are entrances on the SSW and NNE, the former 3.3m wide and lined with slabs set on edge, and the latter framed by a remarkable setting of orthostats. Though only three remain, there were evidently four set in pairs to mark the inner and outer ends of the passage through the wall, which at this point swells to a thickness of 4.5m; standing at right-angles to the passage, these massive stones are each about 1.6m high. Other features of the wall noted in 1983 by Roger Mercer include a series of narrow built channels set transversely through the body of the wall (1985, 110-12, figs 69-70), though these have not been noted by other investigators; he also followed Alexander Curle (RCAHMS 1911, 165, no.528) in suggesting that a rectangular structure let into the wall on the E was possibly the remains of a blocked entrance, and interpretation not shared by other investigators, most recently of RCAHMS, who regard this as a later insertion. The peat covered interior is heather-grown, but two collections of stones that may be the remains of small cairns can be seen at the NNE end, where there is also evidence of shallow surface quarrying, while a stony bank defines a small enclosure within the SSW end. In addition to the structure already noted on the E, another small pen has been built against the wall on this side, and a third outside the circuit on the SSW.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -353597  Y:  8042382  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -3.176416  Latitude:  58.355555  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  Scotland

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Highland

Historic County:   Caithness

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Wick

Condition

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Woodland:  
Commercial Forestry Plantation:  
Parkland:  
Pasture (Grazing):  
Arable:  
Scrub/Bracken:  
Bare Outcrop:  
Heather/Moorland:  
Heath:  
Built-up:  
Coastal Grassland:  
Other:  

Landscape

Hillfort Type

Contour Fort:  
Partial Contour Fort:  
Promontory Fort:  
Hillslope Fort:  
Level Terrain Fort:  
Marsh Fort:  
Multiple Enclosure Fort:  

Topographic Position

Hilltop:  
Coastal Promontory:  
Inland Promontory:  
Valley Bottom:  
Knoll/Hillock/Outcrop:  
Ridge:  
Cliff/Plateau-edge/Scarp:  
Hillslope:  
Lowland:  
Spur:  

Dominant Topographic Feature:  

Aspect

North:  
Northeast:  
East:  
Southeast:  
South:  
Southwest:  
West:  
Northwest:  
Level:  

Elevation

Altitude:  125.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

In the absence of excavation, there are neither stratified artefacts nor radiocarbon dates to provide a chronology for the defences.

Reliability:  D - None

Pre 1200BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
400BC - AD50:  
AD50 - AD400:  
AD400 - AD 800:  
Post AD800:  
Unknown:  

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

None:  No details.

Investigations

Both RCAHMS and Highland HER hold extensive collections of photographs, in the case of RCAHMS including photographs taken by Alexander Curle in 1910 and recent aerial views.

1st Identified Written Reference (1865):  Observations by Joseph Anderson almost certainly relate to his work about 1865 (Anderson 1883, 273-4)
1st Identified Map Depiction (1871):  Annotated Fort on the 1st edition of the OS 25-inch map (Caithness 1877, sheet 29.15)
Earthwork Survey (1871):  Survey sketches by Sir Henry Dryden (RCAHMS DC25437, part of SAS 21 )
Other (1910):  Description (RCAHMS 1911, 165, no.528)
Other (1935):  First Scheduled probably in 1930s
Earthwork Survey (1955):  Plan and description for RCAHMS Survey of Marginal Lands (RCAHMS CAD 3/1 & DP147578; Feahem 1963, 114)
Other (1967):  Resurveyed at 1:2500 by the OS
Other (1976):  Resurveyed at 1:2500 by the OS
Other (1983):  Plan and description by R J Mercer (1985, 110-12, figs 69 -70; RCAHMS DC842)
Other (1997):  Visited by the Hill-Fort Study Group
Other (2000):  Re-Scheduled
Earthwork Survey (2004):  Plan and description by RCAHMS (RCAHMS DC44689 & SC1251103)

Interior Features

Two possible small cairns, quarrying and a small enclosure

Water Source

Water currently collects in a shallow depression in the NNE end

None:  
Spring:  
Stream:  
Pool:  
Flush:  
Well:  
Other:  

Surface

Small u-shaped enclosure

No Known Features:  
Round Stone Structures:  
Rectangular Stone Structures:  
Curvilinear Platforms:  
Other Roundhouse Evidence:  
Pits:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  

Excavation

No Known Excavation:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Geophysics

No Known Geophysics:  
Pits:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Finds

No Known Finds:  
Pottery:  
Metal:  
Metalworking:  
Human Bones:  
Animal Bones:  
Lithics:  
Environmental:  
Other:  

Aerial

NO APPARENT FEATURES

APs Not Checked:  
None:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Other:  

Entrances

See main summary

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (North):  Simple Gap:  Framed by massive orthostats
Entrance 2 (South):  Simple Gap

Enclosing Works

Single wall

Enclosed Area 1:  0.8ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.8ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✓  

Number of Ramparts:  1

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  1

Current Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  
Unknown:  

Multi-period Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:  
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  

Surface Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Rubble:  
Wall-walk:  
Evidence of Timber:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
Other:  

Excavated Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Murus Duplex:  
Timber-framed:  
Timber-laced:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
No Known Excavation:  
Other:  

Gang Working

Gang Working:  ✗ 

Ditches

Ditches:  

Number of Ditches:  

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Anderson, J (1883a) Scotland in pagan times: the iron age: the Rhind lectures in archaeology for 1881. Edinburgh

Feachem, R (1963) A guide to prehistoric Scotland. Batsford: London

Mercer, R J (1985) Archaeological Field Survey in Northern Scotland Volume III 1982-1983. University of Edinburgh, Department of Archaeology, Occasional Paper No. 11. Edinburgh

RCAHMS (1911) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness. HMSO, London

Terms of Use

The online version of the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland should be cited as:

Lock, G. and Ralston, I. 2017.  Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk.

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