On my recent camping adventure on the west and north coast of Scotland, I saw a number of dynamic and breathtaking landscapes. Rolling hills, plateau summits, sparkling blue bays and peaks too adventurous for me to attempt. Of course, I didn’t just explore the natural landscape, but took also to the waters and some remote places to see some of the lesser explored arenas of the those coastlines: snorkelling Scourie Bay, touring Smoo Cave and detouring past Drumbeg to see more than one broch.
There was one problem though… The brochs, so clearly labelled on the OS map, were difficult to find, sometimes laying just off of a bendy road, and sometimes set well beyond a harbour, with a 15-minute scramble across slippery rocks to reach. (note, I didn’t reach that one)
The brochs, cairns and other points of archaeological research that were generally inaccessible (without either a jetpack or gazelle-like bounding skills) had the added difficulty of lacking all types of signage as to their location, type or existence. In a country renowned for over-signing the roads, why are these monuments from the past both inaccessible and unlabelled? It’s a difficult question to answer.
Are signs and access points only developed by local interest groups who successfully receive funding from Historic Scotland (or Lotto Funds), or is HS responsible for the hit & miss signage? Why are some features clearly signposted and well maintained, even in remote areas, while others that are closer to roads plainly ignored?
I don’t have the answer to these questions, but they may provide the backdrop for a new article.
Any collaborators out there?