THE “financial jigsaw” around the future of an Iron Age monument has been completed thanks to rural development funding.

Ancient Dunbeath broch in Caithness will undergo conservation work to preserve it for future generations following a £21,000 boost from the Highland LEADER Programme.

Highland Council said the move completes the “financial jigsaw” needed to fund the work.

The site was excavated in the late 1800s when the interior was cleared to reveal a guard cell, entrance and other features. However, work carried out around that time also compromised the safety of some of the stonework.

Further clearance and repair was completed in 1990 and efforts to better understand and protect the historic structure will now begin again.

Neil Buchanan, chair of Berriedale & Dunbeath Community Council, said: “Very few Caithness brochs have been subject to modern excavation and dating and few are readily accessible or adequately presented. Dunbeath Broch is a scheduled monument and is the best preserved and most visited of several brochs in the strath.

“The broch is in need of conservation works to slow or prevent deterioration of the structure and assure safe access. LEADER funding will allow us to undertake these works in partnership with a professional archaeological and conservation team. The conservation and investigative works will also form the basis for an outreach programme for local schools.”