A pioneering conservation project in Caithness has saved a prehistoric monument from ruin.
Ousdsale Broch, an ancient circular drystone tower dating back to the Iron Age and located just south of Berriedale, had fallen into dangerous levels of disrepair.
Formerly described as “one of the best preserved brochs in Caithness”, it suffered collapse and structural damage at some point between 2013 and 2015.
The structure had been destabilised by collapse of a buttress within the broch – which had only been constructed 120 years earlier, during antiquarian excavations in 1891 – and by a tree which had been growing within the broch walls.
The Caithness Broch Project, assisted by funding from Historic Environment Scotland’s Historic Repair Grant Scheme, Highland LEADER Programme and Beatrice Caithness Community Fund, has now seen £180,000 spent on a restoration.
A new trail, interpretation panels and a car park also now feature at the site.
Robin Herrick, CBP chairman and project manager for the Ousdale Broch project, said: “The stonemasons worked through the winter which meant dealing with cold and some inclement weather, but no midges!
“The Broch Project team worked hard to deliver this project for the local community and visitors, and we hope that people will enjoy the new trail and spruced up broch for many, many years to come.”
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