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Lego broch arrives at Caithness Horizons

Thousands of pieces of Lego have been used to create a replica of the type of broch which was used by Iron Age communities in Caithness more than 2500 years ago.

Lego-building specialists Brick to the Past has unveiled their construction in Caithness Horizons visitor centre in Thurso to help Caithness Broch Project (CBP) promote the area’s history.

The model, which was built by Brick to the Past builders Dan Harris and James Pegrum, took four months to complete.

It features an Iron Age broch, which consists of 10,000 Lego blocks, with the surrounding Caithness landscape made from a further 10,000 pieces.

The model is 40 centimetres high and covers area of about 1.2 square metres.

Mr Harris, from Nethybridge, said they have built large-scale Lego models in the past and said the broch replica was the hardest they have done.

He said: “It wasn’t the biggest model we have built, but it is certainly the most challenging we have completed in terms of the design.

“The model was challenging as the broch had to be built in an unusual way and we had to play around with it to get the geometry right.

“It took us three months to come up with the design and took around another month to build the broch and we are pleased with the result.”

His company specialises in building big historical-themed models using Lego.

Before the pair start the construction, they put in a lot of research to ensure the replica is as close to the genuine thing as possible.

During this stage, Mr Harris said he and Mr Pegrum travelled around Caithness, other parts of the Highlands and the Western Isles looking at brochs before starting the design.

“Our models are all about ensuring we get as much accuracy as we can into important pieces of architecture which tell a story.

“Before there was a lot of fieldwork and research that went into the project. We visited brochs in Caithness, including Dunbeath and Nybster.

“We also went to Sutherland and Lewis before starting the design process.”

Mr Harris made the replica broch while Mr Pegrum constructed the surrounding landscape.

There are a number of theories about what went on inside broch but in the Lego version, it shows three floors where animals were kept on the ground floor, with people and storage on the upper floors.

The Lego landscape is firmly based on Caithness with low-lying lands and golden beaches along with people working on the land such as hunters, farmers and blacksmiths.

CBP’s primary aim is to create a replica Iron Age broch and an adjoining drystone dyking workshop to show how people lived in Caithness more than 2500 years ago. If given the go-ahead, it is hoped it would become a major tourist attraction in the county and the plans have received support from across the world.

John O’Groats, Keiss, Lybster and Yarrows are in the running as possible sites for CBP to build its planned life-sized broch.

The Lego model will remain on display at Caithness Horizons until Monday, October 16.

Image by Arran Sinclair