Wideford Hill Chambered Cairn
Wideford Hill Chambered Cairn
On a sloping hill between Kirkwall and Finstown stands the impressive remains of a Neoloithic chambered cairn, with a central burial chamber surrounded by three concentric stone walls.
The tomb was built sometime between 3000 BC, and was originally accessed along a low and narrow passage built into the mound from the west. Modern visitors get to skip the discomfort of crawling along the passage, and get to enter through a trapdoor set into the roof of the mound.

The inner chamber is quite large, roughly 3 metres high, so you can easily stand up and examine the interior. The builders were obviously experienced with drystone construction, and the building of Wideford bears comparison with the famous burial mound of Maes Howe near Harray.

We do not know how many people were buried at Wideford, as the site had been robbed before it was first investigated by antiquarians in the mid-19th century.

What I found most impressive at Wideford was the exterior construction; the concentric stone walls are reminiscent of the stone houses at Skara Brae, on the far west of Orkney Mainland. They create an impressive ceremonial feel to the site. The burial mound is open at any time - like in the rainstorm when I visited, when the inner chamber provided a welcome shelter from the downpour outside!

The central burial chamber
The central burial chamber
The original entrance passage
The original entrance passage
The cairn exterior
The cairn exterior