CONCERNS are being raised about a rise in rock falls near a famous Caithness landmark.
Sections of the cliff face opposite the Castle of Old Wick - one of Scotland’s oldest castles - had recently fallen into the bay.
The fall is believed to have taken place over the last few weeks, leaving a large section of the face - previously next to an old military firing range - lying in a heap at the base of the cliff.
Two large pieces are clearly visible on the beach at Oldwick Geo, and a substantial amount of fallen rock has accumulated on a nearby slope.
Amateur geologist Robert Shand told the Groat that he had studied the geology of Caithness for many years, and such collapses are unsurprising given that the Oldwick Geo is a collapsed cave system.
“At one point in time there were possibly two narrow caves with the largest at the east side of the geo," he said.
“The rock outcrop in the middle would have been the central wall between the two."
Mr Shand said that a series of holes drilled along the ledge that were intended to mount posts for a fence that was never put up may also have contributed to the rock fall.
Whether the holes have had any effect on the erosion is debateable but Mr Shand said he believes that the increased rainfall of the last few years and sharp frosts may also have had an effect on the already fractured rock.