Published: 03/08/2012 11:00 - Updated: 03/08/2012 11:42

Farmer unearths 'substantial' milestone

A MILESTONE, which is thought to have been one of many covered up for security purposes during the Second World War, has been unearthed in Caithness.

Farmer Dennis Dunnett discovered the stone in a ditch on the Shebster to Reay road. The milestone, which is about five feet long and weighs around half a ton, is now back in position at the edge of the road.

Mr Dunnett, of Achvarasdal Farm, told the Groat he is “quite delighted” the milestone is again on view. Part of the stone has been damaged but it clearly shows the words “Reay 1 mile” on one side and “Thurso 10 miles” on the other.

Mr Dunnett knew the stone was there as he could see the top of it and just make out a few letters. “I always planned to investigate it,” he said.

The incentive came when he spotted council workmen clearing out a ditch near the stone.

Mr Dunnett informed them about the stone and decided to uncover it.

“At first I thought I would build it into the dry-stone dyke but because of its length and weight I left it at the side of the road. It is a substantial stone and was buried beneath the ground. I wanted to get it out for nostalgic reasons,” he said.

Mr Dunnett, who has been farming at Achvarasdal for 25 years, is unsure of the milestone’s history or how old the stone is but said it is “feasible” it could have been covered up during the Second World War.

Mr Dunnett and his wife, Margaret, have two sons – Dennis who stays in Thurso and Michael who lives in Ireland.

Local historians contacted by the Groat said it is “very likely” the milestone was covered up during the Second World War although they could not be certain that was the case.

Many road signs, milestones and other artefacts which could prove useful to an enemy were removed during the war for security reasons in the event of an invasion by Germany.

The stone which was uncovered.
The stone which was uncovered.
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