Cairn of Elsay Broch (Staxigoe)

Amazing site perched on the coast. It is not far from The Pap broch, reinforcing my belief that all brochs in the Highlands were connected by line of sight as communications and intelligence are vital to military victory. Boats could have passed word quickly along the coast, but line of sight is the only possible way the Picts could have passed intelligence quickly overland throughout the Highlands.

Studying the first photo below, while taking into consideration the extensive outbuildings around the broch as well as its strategic position, I'm going to suggest that this was perhaps the main harbour and port between the mainland and the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The outbuildings have never been excavated so there could be some surprises buried here.

It was also while spending time at this broch, sitting on the stones and looking out over the ocean, that I finally settled on where the Picts had come from. I now firmly believe they were European refugees, possibly Israelites who had fled to escape the Romans. That would also lend weight to the legend that Joseph of Arimathea traveled to Scotland. If he did, then it is entirely possible that Calgacus and Joseph of Arimathea were one and the same person. Joseph was a Pharisee so he would have had sufficient understanding of Roman military strategy and tactics to defeat them. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Picts were not savages, they were intelligent, they were organised, they were industrious, they were warriors and they defeated Rome.

Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.

Cairn of Elsay broch broch photographs

Cairn of Elsay 01

Cairn of Elsay 02

Cairn of Elsay 03

Cairn of Elsay 04

Cairn of Elsay 05

Cairn of Elsay 06

Cairn of Elsay 07

Cairn of Elsay 08

Cairn of Elsay 09

Cairn of Elsay 10

Cairn of Elsay 11

Cairn of Elsay 12

Cairn of Elsay 13

Cairn of Elsay 14

Cairn of Elsay 15

Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.