Vatersay

Dun Vatersay (2)
The West Beach from Dun Vatersay

Vatersay is a beautiful little island at the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides.
It is only 3 miles long, with just over 90 people living there and since 1991 it has been connected to the Isle of Barra by a causeway.

There are a number of archaeological sites, including a broch, a dun, some Bronze Age cairns and a standing stone.. At most sites there are very little remains, if any, of the original structures but they are all worth visiting for their views and to be able to appreciate their setting in the landscape.

Dun Vatersay

Dun Vatersay
Looking up to the dun

Perched on top of a steep outcrop above the West Beach is the site of Dun Vatersay, an Iron Age fort.  Virtually nothing remains of the stone fort but the site is impressive for its views and obvious strategic position.

Dun Vatersay (3)
Looking north from the dun, across the thin stretch of machair that separates the north and south of the island. The Isle of Barra is visible in the distance
Bronze Age Kerbed  Cairn
Kerbed Cairn by Dun Vatersay (2)

There are two Bronze Age cairns on the hill below the dun and the most obvious one is a round kerbed cairn situated on some level ground below the the dun. It was excavated by Sheffield University in the 1990’s and the remains of a cremated body were found. The other one is about 200m away but is not so easy to make out.

Tacksmans House

The ruined Tacksmans House, between the dun and the small village of Vatersay.  Built in the time when the whole of Vatersay was one farm, leased by the tacksman (tenant farmer).
Tacksman's House, Vatersay (1280x960)

Standing Stone

In a gap between the small hills at the south end of the island is a standing stone. No one knows if it is prehistoric or if it had just been a very large gatepost at some time in history! It’s still a very fine stone and as you approach it from the north, the view you suddenly get of the sea and the islands beyond is breathtaking.

Standing Stone, Vatersay (2) (1280x960)
Looking south to the islands of Pabbay and Mingulay
Standing Stone, Vatersay (1) (1280x960)
Standing Stone or gatepost?

Beyond Vatersay

Heading south, past the standing stone, the magnificent view looking down to the tail end of the Outer Hebrides –  the remote, uninhabited islands of Pabbay,  Mingulay and Berneray
Pabbay & Mingulay

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