Ancient Orcadian seat of Power
For centuries, political and religious power
in Orkney centred around a small tidal island off the north-western
corner of the Mainland. This island goes by the name of the Brough
With an area of 21 hectares, the Brough is separated from the Point o' Buckquoy on the Mainland, by the waters of Brough Sound - a distance of approximately 240 metres (262 yards).
Access to the Brough is, therefore, restricted
to a few hours each day, at either side of low tide, when a causeway
across is clear. This not only meant the island had a prime defensive
position, but was also an ideal base for sea travel south, north
Originally connected to the Orkney Mainland, the
fierce sea erosion, that continues to affect the area, gradually
ate away at the land between the Point o' Buckquoy and the island
itself. However, although experts
are unclear as to when this neck of land was finally severed, it
is likely to have been long before the
Picts took to the island in the seventh century AD.
The earliest settlement on the Brough is thought
to date from the fifth century AD, perhaps Christian missionaries.
By the seventh century it was a Pictish stronghold, and by the
ninth century had been taken over, and built over, by the Norse.
Most of the remains seen on the Brough today date
from its final, Norse, period of use - giving buildings ranging from
800-1200AD. This means that, in some cases, different aged remains
lie side-by-side, making interpretation of the site by the visitor