Project 4. Build a broch and tourism centre  The reconstruction of a broch would have several benefits – in addition to providing an iconic tourist attraction, it would provide employment from the construction phase through to long after the building has been completed.  Drystone dyking workshops would be provided, allowing the public to come and try out a once thriving skill. The broch would become a first class ‘living history’ visitor attraction, furnished with all the items and furniture of the time, as well as using re-enactors to paint a picture of ancient life. Creating such an attraction would provide a welcome boost to Caithness’ tourism infrastructure, creating jobs and making the area more economically secure, as well as providing Caithness with a truly iconic emblem! WHO IS UNDERTAKING THIS?  the Caithness Broch Project,  a charity (SC046307).  Iain Maclean is the man who first dreamt up the concept of the Broch Project for Caithness. He has a special interest in working with stone and enjoys using traditional skills. He has a passion for history and archaeology, and spends much of his spare time around both known and unknown sites.  Thanks to Project 4 for the imagry.

The word broch is derived from Scots ‘brough’, meaning (among other things) fort. In the mid 19th century Scottish antiquaries called brochs ‘burgs’, after Old Norse borg, with the same meaning. Brochs are often referred to as duns in the west. Antiquarians began to use the spelling broch in the 1870s. The Shetland Amenity Trust lists about 120 sites in Shetland as candidate brochs, while the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) identifies a total of 571 candidate broch sites throughout the country. There is little doubt that the hollow walled broch tower was purely an invention in what is now Scotland; even the kinds of pottery found inside them that most resembled south British styles were local hybrid forms, the increasing number – albeit still pitifully few – of radiocarbon dates for the primary use of brochs (as opposed to their later, secondary use) still suggests that most of the towers were built in the 1st centuries BC and AD. A few may be earlier, notably the one proposed for Old Scatness Broch in Shetland, where a sheep bone dating to 390–200 BC has been reported. The distribution of brochs is centred on northern Scotland. Caithness, Sutherland and the Northern Isles have the densest concentrations, but there are a great many examples in the west of Scotland and the Hebrides. We take tours to these brochs when ever possible, Paul is the one to take you – another McLean!