| 7 January 2021
Ancient stone tower conserved in Scotland
The ruins of Ousdale Burn Broch, north of Helmsdale in Caithness (Scotland), had fallen into further disrepair over the past 130 years. A wall near the entrance to the broch had collapsed and a tree was growing inside the structure. Conservation work was delayed by the Covid pandemic and by a caravan being dumped by fly-tippers at the site.
Brochs date back to 2,000 years ago and were built to heights of more than 12m (40ft). It is thought they were used as dwellings, perhaps for local chieftains. Caithness is home to about 200 brochs.
Ousdale broch was once been described as one of the best preserved brochs in Caithness. Excavations caused damage in 1891 and parts of the site collapsed and suffered structural damage in 2013 and 2015. Damage has been repaired and engineers have installed protection to prevent further deterioration of the broch.
Archaeological charity, Caithness Broch Project, secured £180,000 of funding for the work and it is hoped that the site will become a tourist attraction. Chairman Robin Herrick said: "I think it will become a big attraction not just for visiting tourists but for regular users of the A9 from Inverness to Caithness who will have passed by many times without realising what a special place it is."
Edited from BBC News (8 December 2020)
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