Culture

Cuween Cairn – Wideford Hill

By Bernie Bell

Pics by B&M Bell

We’ve visited both Cuween and Wideford many times before https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/03/23/bernie-bell-orkney-walks-with-stories-cuween/, but it was a clear, sunny day in mid-October and we wanted to be somewhere up, to look about us – so combining Cuween and Wideford seemed like a good idea.

Having decided to go to Cuween, the day, very appropriately, became filled with meeting dogs.  When we went out to our car, both our neighbours dogs came to say ‘Hello’, then, when we’d parked the car in the little car park for Cuween and were walking up the track to the cairn we met two women with FIVE dogs, and what a fine selection of dogs they were – a Miniature Poodle, a Standard Poodle (v. smart indeed), a Boxer called Cooper ( maybe you need to be a certain age to recognize that reference), a Retriever, and a Labrador. 

Then, after we’d visited the cairn – which is known for its dogs….

https://www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-collections/stories/scottish-history-and-archaeology/neolithic-dog-skull/

….and carried on up the hill, we met ‘Team J’ with Flo-The-Dog.  A  day of dogs – Happy Bells!

But I’m jumping ahead – back to the beginning of our walk, and the information board by the carpark, on which neighbour-man Sweyn Asleifsson  https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/09/14/our-very-own-viking/ crops up again ….

He gets about, does Sweyn.

Then we walked up the, quite steep, path to the cairn…

With a reminder to us to behave ourselves…..

I’d like to thank Historic Environment Scotland, or whoever is responsible for the stile by the cairn – it’s just right – I could take it one step at a time, there’s something to hold onto all the way, then I could easily turn round on the top – and down the other side. THANK YOU!  Things like that help – a lot.

We walked round the side and up onto the top of the cairn – views, views and more views…

Round to Finstown and the Oyce of Firth https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/06/18/the-oyce-of-firth-part-one/

Looking across to the Holm of Grimbister and Damsay….

Round to Wideford Hill and Keelylang with their masts….

Then looking up towards the stone towers which folk build on the site of the old quarry above the cairn…

What a place – what a position!

Mike went into the cairn – I can’t manage the passageway these days – so it goes.  The information board has a plan of the interior…

And here’s what it’s like to be inside the cairn……………..

Then we carried on up to the old quarry with it towers of stone,  a little ‘beehive hut’…

….and a view across to the ’new’ quarry…….

We noticed a huge Fairy Ring of toadstools, and didn’t fear to step into it…..

And ….another kind of Magic Mushroom!

The track up this hill is part of the St Magnus Way  https://www.stmagnusway.com/resources/finstown-to-orphir-route-description

…and we followed it uphill until we could see right across to the Neolithic Heart of Orkney….

….but didn’t continue on The Way, instead we retraced our steps back to the car and drove right to the top of Wideford Hill as a good place to eat our sandwiches.

I’d forgotten quite how much can be seen from the top of Wideford Hill – we usually just go to the cairn….https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/03/30/bernie-bell-orkney-walks-with-stories-wideford/

Here are some photos – which don’t do justice to the…Panoramic Vista…..are the words which come to mind – you really need to go and see for yourself, if you can….

A grand day out in so many ways – Dogs, Views, Archaeology, Views, Fungi, more Views and ……Sandwiches!

5 replies »

  1. What a beautiful day…
    Easy approach to go for adventure with a simple controlled precaution and rule.
    It’s bliss.

  2. Team J loved meeting you both and Flo-The-Dog is honoured to have reminded you of Ben-The-Dog just a little. We hope to bump into you again sometime xxx

  3. Hi Jean – and we were pleased to meet yous, too! Did you notice that you’re in the picture with the Fairy Ring?

    I’ve been thinking about the broken stone that Jess found – it reminds me of when, on an archaeology dig, they find two pieces of broken pot which exactly fit together. Among all those bits of broken stone on Cuween, Jess found two parts of one stone, broken, but which fitted together!
    And yes, we had many memories of Ben-The-Dog on that walk.
    Tickles to Flo!

  4. Gosh, so we are, in the picture, yay! Jess is well chuffed to have got a mention on your story. I am still just delighted to have met you 💜

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