Walk: Grimsay excavations - reinventing the wheelhouse

Grimsay | Gearradubh | Short walk | ★★★

[Grimsay wheelhouse]

One of the most fascinating ancient sites on the Uists is found on the tiny island of Grimsay - and it's not marked on Ordnance Survey maps. On a hillock overlooking Bàgh nam Feadag is the Western Isles' best example of an iron age wheelhouse, or roundhouse. These circular buildings had rooms arranged like spokes on a wheel, with the functions of each chamber symbolically designed to mirror the arc of the sun across the sky. This one was uncovered in the early 20th century, but the amateur excavator was a bit keen and reinvented the wheelhouse slightly by rebuilding incomplete sections. Nevertheless, it's an impressive site, and there's an unexcavated clone immediately to the north. Getting to both roundhouses involves following the scenic shoreline of Loch Hornaraigh, eventually revealing superb views north towards North Uist and Eaval.

[Eaval across Bàgh nam Feadag]

📌 Walk: Grimsay excavations - reinventing the wheelhouse ★★★
Start / finish at track entrance (space for one or two cars only, without blocking access) on Bàgh Tràight, minor road half a mile east of Gearradubh, Grimsay, G.R.: NF 863573 ///farm.report.flinches

▶ 1 km / <1 mile | ▲ 40 metres | ⌚ Short | Moderate
Features: Loch Hornaraigh; Grimsay wheelhouse
Terrain: Very faint, grassy paths; some sections are pathless. All fences have gates.

Route & map

Start - Loch Hornaraigh outflow - Grimsay wheelhouse - unexcavated wheelhouse immediately to north - western inlet of Bàgh nam Feadag - return by outward route or similar

Route credit: Scotland off the beaten track

On our visit

Wildlife:; Distant seals and an family of eider ducks at Bàgh nam Feadag, sheep and lambs, dragonflies.
Weather: Mostly overcast with fleeting sunny breaks, temperature in mid teens.

Also on this walk

📌 Grimsay wheelhouse ★★★
Wheelhouse overlooks a southwest inlet of Bàgh nam Feadag, Grimsay, G.R.: NF 867574 ///credited.atlas.jokers
Always open | Free

Anything else? Quickest access to wheelhouse is by following the route described above - about a 15-min walk each way.

Chronological photo guide

[Bàgh Tràight]

[Southwest shore of Loch Hornaraigh]

[Northeast shore of Loch Hornaraigh]

[Grimsay wheelhouse]

[Wheelhouse with Eaval beyond]

[Inside the wheelhouse]

[Wheelhouse, Bàgh nam Feadag & Eaval]

[Bàgh nam Feadag & Eaval]

[Northern, unexcavated wheelhouse]

[View across the loch to Eaval]

[Bàgh nam Feadag]

[Seals]

[Eider ducks]

[Moth]

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