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Taversoe Tuick - Rousay, Orkney
Chambered Tomb
National Grid Reference: HY 426 276

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How To Get There

From the ferry terminal follow the road up the hill and turn left on to the B9064 which leads all around the island. Taversoe Tuick is about 1/3 of a mile along the road, and just to the right of it. It is clearly visible from the road and there is a small parking area by the side of the road.

There are regular ferries between Tingwall on Mainland and Trumland on Rousay. A return trip will cost foot passengers less than 5 pounds.

This chambered tomb is quite a little gem, unique amongst the ones that I have visited so far. For beneath the standard grassy mound which covers it, Taversoe Tuick is a double decker! There are two entrances to the tomb, one facing seaward (south) and the other on the opposite side of the mound (shown in photograph above). The southern entrance leads to the lower chambers and the northern entrance leads to the upper chambers. In addition to this quite unique feature there is another chamber built into the hillside just below the main mound which is still visible and is protected from the weather by a heavy wooden door.

There is now a ladder for visitors to explore the lower level rather than using the original, narrow, southern entrance to the site. I don't know whether the hole that leads down is original or not.

The tomb was discovered during the 19th century when the land owners wanted to build a viewing point and sheltered garden on the top of the natural hillock that the tomb occupies. They got quite a surprise to find that the grassy little knoll on which they used to sprawl in the summer sun held a somewhat grizzly secret in the form of the skeletons of their Neolithic ancestors!

The monument is now in the care of Historic Scotland. The roof of the upper level has been repaired with a concrete dome which in my opinion doesn't really detract from the appeal of the place at all.

If you are visiting this site on Rousay then there are several others on this island which are well worth exploring. Some of the best are only a short distance from Taversoe Tuick - either a cycle ride or a hike away up the coast: Blackhammer, Yarso, Midhowe (all stalled cairns) and also Midhowe Broch are all well worth a visit.

On a personal level I can recommend the restaurant near the ferry terminal at Trumland. We were cold and tired after a few hours exploring the sites on Rousay in snow, hail, rain and sunshine! The refreshments provided here were warming, filling and good value for money with friendly service too (but then that seems to be the usual state of affairs anywhere in the Orkney Islands).

Nearby Sites

Blackhammer
Knowe of Yarso
Midhowe Cairn
Midhowe Broch

Related Sites

Notes

 

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This prehistoric site has been rescued for historical reasons by History X's archive