Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The 5.5(ish) And Durness

The morning started brightly enough.
With a hundred runners anticipating this mornings run, a hill circuit of 5.5(ish) miles with some astonishing views and the wind seems to have died down a little too!
From the village Hall we would turn left onto the road, then left onto the moorlands and hills, before dropping back down and to the village Hall where we would finish.
I had a respectable time of 58mins 25seconds, though the winner completed it in a record 29mins (I think he`s an Olympian!)

With some outstanding views around, Durness is one of the most North Westerly places in Scotland, before hitting the islands of the Outer Hebrides and Shetland Islands.
Its population is small, but was once huge centuries ago and the archaeological proof surrounding these claims is immense. 
With shops, gifts and places of interest to visit, Durness stands on its own in the art of survival.
Although The Cape Wrath Challenge has now being going 10 years, the people who organise it and the locals that welcome us, shows tolerance! We do quite literally take over this quiet, rugged and beautiful part of the world.
The weather here can change dramatically and the BBC weather reports have not been right here yet!
In December last year, the lady from the lighthouse at Cape Wrath went out to get the Christmas turkey and didn`t get back until February!
The weather being unpredictable.
But Durness`s history goes back further to Neolithic man making a town here and Iron age man etc.
One of the strangest facts is the fossilised dunes here that are no longer near the sea and now collapsing are revealing remnants of days gone by.

Bones have been found and some Jacobite materials and pottery parts aswell as musket shots, giving a wide array of dates in the history of time.

Remnants of burial mounds, both open and enclosed are all around and some have been found with the casks still inside, though they have, over time, been heavily robbed and trashed. 
People say you can`t grow trees in Durness, yes you can, but you have to plant them first!
The highlands and Lowlands of Scotland were once covered in trees and during the clearance periods made by early man, burnt the forests and with the high winds they get here, it wouldn`t take long to burn thousands of acres of forest.
Evidence of sawing down a forest is around and one peat bog is full of these, but this has left a dilemma..
The evidence shows that it wasn`t modern man who made the saw cuts and if it was early man, it throws the theory of just the axe being invented to chop down the trees as many "experts" believe it took a few thousand years to develop the saw, here, it shows otherwise and shows that early man was more capable of adapting and improving his life more quickly.

You wouldn`t know they were there unless you knew what you were looking for and here is a roundhouse! 
With the heather and grass in a rounded shape, the area would have been cleared and the houses would mainly have been made up of rocks and grass - like the mud huts - with a fire in the centre.

On the hills are other "buildings" but no - one seems to know what the purpose of them were........
The fields around this area extremely furtile and many of the hills actually show huge square green patches and was once a major area for vegetable growing, but during the 1800`s when people were cleared from these areas and put to the coast, the fertile ground changed as more sheep were moved into the area.
This proved to be disastrous as sheep droppings do absolutely nothing for the ground, where as cattle poo does alot more and helps with fertilisation.

The Limestone rocks that are here just stick out and when it rains they do start to disappear.
There are plenty of sink holes around where water once stood and disappeared underground.

Smoo Cave is one of the best caves around to show the water coming from above.

With Wild Orchids, Mountain Avion and other flora and fauna growing in abundance here, it goes to show how nature has adapted over the 1000`s of year and it has taken decades for the build up of peat to form.

  1. So, if your interested in seeing something different and sharing your experiences of the ultimate  in nature and adventure, then visit Durness and its surrounding area, you will not be disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. I am constantly amazed at how beautiful the world is through your pictures!!