Yarrow’s is a trail of multiple brochs, including a fascinating one that is half underwater. We parked and studied the map in the parking lot then stared around us at a loss. Nothing was as depicted. We walked up the road where we noticed, lower down the slope and off to the right, a rundown farmhouse with a sloped corrugated tin roof. A few dark windows made it look lifeless or like someone was watching us. It was creepy.

To the left was was a gate, unlocked, and we went through it, climbing through a very rough field past some sheep and horses.P1200298P1200317

We arrived at the amazing half submerged broch.

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The ruins are the stone foundations of what is thought once to have been tall wood and thatch structures. The stone foundations show how the neolithic people lived, with multiple rooms, sleeping areas, a central fireplace. And the people reused their refuse, shells and so on, in other ways. Quite sustainable and cooperative!P1200299Next we tried to climb to the top of a ridge on the other side of the road, but the ground was broken into large chunks as though a herd of horses or cows had been driven over it after a rain. It was impossible to walk over it, so the three brochs up there remained out of reach.

We figured the farmer was forced to preserve the historic sites and let visitors onto his land to looked at them, but they couldn’t be forced to make it easy!

We left, grateful for seeing the best broch and thinking about how all these ruins are national treasures or a big pain in the neck, depending on your situation. How they are preserved and shared and the impact of tourism on today’s farmers as well as on the sites would seem a bit complicated. Of course more funding would make a huge difference, and I hope that comes about, so all the remains can be preserved formally with support for the local farmers too.