Midhowe Broch Rousay - what's in a name?

Lots of folk (ok maybe not lots, it depends where you’re reading this from!) will have visited Midhowe broch in Rousay:

Midhowe Broch, Rousay just down the coast from Swandro

but how many of you have stopped to wonder why it’s called Midhowe? Howe is easy – from the Old Norse Haugr = a mound, but why the mid?

Simples really – there’s three brochs at the bottom of that steep hill in Rousay! North Howe - which is on the hill behind Midhowe and then there’s South Howe, which from the landward side looks like a big green lump next to the ruins of Brough Farm, but if you go on the beach you can see it eroding away nicely:


The eroding broch wall at South Howe with a 2m ranging pole scale

The dig site at Swandro is about half a mile further south along the coast than South Howe, and that’s Eynhallow Sound aka the Atlantic ocean on the right. The surveying team are standing on what looks like a manmade platform but it’s actually natural Orkney stone, very good for building with & that’s what all the archaeology’s built out of. Lasts forever – unless of course it gets in the way of the Atlantic then it’s not so good.


Recording the eroding broch at South Howe

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Swandro - Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust 

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation No: SC047002 

Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay

Registered office: Bayview Birsay Orkney KW17 2LR   email: info@swandro.co.uk