Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Rhianrivach, broch 185m NNW of Achow

A Scheduled Monument in Wick and East Caithness, Highland

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 58.3075 / 58°18'26"N

Longitude: -3.315 / 3°18'53"W

OS Eastings: 323039

OS Northings: 936184

OS Grid: ND230361

Mapcode National: GBR L65R.XX7

Mapcode Global: WH6F4.1GQ8

Entry Name: Rhianrivach, broch 185m NNW of Achow

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1939

Last Amended: 19 September 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM575

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch

Location: Latheron

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wick and East Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument is a broch, a complex stone-built substantial roundhouse, dating to the Iron Age (between 600BC and 400AD). The broch is visible as a substantial grass covered stoney mound with an associated bank and ditch. It is located on a slight hillock, southeast of Rumster Forest at around 110m above sea level.

The broch mound measures 18m in diameter and rises 2.4m above the surrounding ground. Close to its base, the broch is encircled by a ditch and associated bank. To the west, the mound is slightly terraced to a lower level and has evidence for related structures. The monument is located in a prominent position on rising ground on the hillside with extensive views over the surrounding landscape and to the North Sea.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan and includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The monument was first scheduled in 1939, but the documentation did not meet current standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular of Iron Age society in Caithness and the function, use and development of brochs. It is a well-preserved example in a prominent position within the landscape. The upstanding mound indicates this monument is likely to retain structural characteristics, with potential for survival of walls and features such as intramural cells. The outer-works of the broch are of significance with an encircling ditch and bank along with evidence for associated outbuildings on the broch platform. The broch adds to our understanding of settlement patterns and social structure during the Iron Age in Caithness and this potential is enhanced by the numerous brochs in the vicinity. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the development, use and re-use of brochs, and the nature of Iron Age society, economy and social hierarchy in the north of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 8630 (accessed on 30/04/2015).

The Highland Council Historic Environment Record reference is MHG10863 (accessed on 30/04/2015).

Armit, I (2002), Towers in the North: The Brochs of Scotland. The History Press. Stroud.

Banks and Beverley Ballin, I and E (Eds.) (2002). In the Shadow of the Brochs: The Iron Age in Scotland. Stroud, Tempus Publishing.

MacKie, E. W. (2007) 'The Roundhouses, Brochs and Wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c. 700 BC - AD 500: architecture and material culture. Part 2 The Mainland and the Western Islands'. BAR, vol 342. Oxford.

Malone, B. (2008) 'Rhianrivach Broch, Lybster, Caithness, Highland (Latheron parish), watching brief , Discovery Excav Scot, New, vol. 9. Cathedral Communications Limited, Wiltshire. Page: 111.


HER/SMR Reference

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.