Thursday, 19 November 2009

Glen Elg

In the second of two pieces about my recent trip to Scotland, I have a little of the highland countryside to share with you.

The day following the visit to Chanonry Point was devoted to a drive into Glen Elg. The weather was much less reliable than it had been the day before and the first stop of the day, to take in the Map of Scotland view at the western end of Loch Garry, was rather overcast ...

I saw a post-sitting Hooded Crow and a small group of distant Red Deer while passing Loch Cluanie. A pair of Golden Eagle, a Peregrine and numerous Buzzards were also seen. Shortly afterwards we began our climb of the Ratagan Pass where we stopped to view the Five Sisters of Kintail ...

and the view across Loch Duich to Sgurr an Airgid ...

A short stop at the Kylerhea ferry landing, opposite the Isle of Skye, in the hope of glimpsing sea otter, left us otterlessly car-bound in driving rain.

If views of wildlife were few and far between and the landscapes were not all that was hoped for because of the weather, the after-lunch visit to the Glen Elg brochs certainly provided ample compensation. The two brochs, at Dun Telve and a short distance away at Dun Troddan, are the best preserved in mainland Scotland and date from between 2,300 and 1,900 years ago.

Above: The remains of the Dun Telve broch; Below: the Dun Troddan broch

Both the brochs are twin-walled circular structures with a single doorway; off to the side of the doorway is a short passage between the walls which may have housed a guard or watchdog. Once within the inner enclosure, there is also an inner entrance leading to other passages between the curtain walls, and parts of the stairways still survive which gave access to upper levels.

Top left & right: The entrance and the 'guard-room'; Bottom left & right: An inner passage and stairs between the curtain walls and a selection of mosses and lichens growing on the walls surrounding the site.

The brochs stood around 10 metres high and both approach this height today in places. There are remains of wooden post holes at various points in the structure, and it is thought that the inner circular courtyard may have been roofed, giving comfortable living accommodation during times of attack.

It is believed that the Dun Telve broch survived almost complete until the eighteenth century when it was partly demolished for buildings nearby. The site was excavated and poorly recorded in 1914 when coarse pottery, stone tools and several lamps were found.


ADRIAN said...

I want to be there Emma, sick of flat! Thanks for a grand post.

Wilma said...

What a trip! Even though the weather was not entirely cooperative, you were sure able to show it at its best. I love the the view across Loch Duich to Sgurr an Airgid with the sun illuminating the far shore -- stunning.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful scenery shots Emma, thanks for posting them.

Emma Anderson said...

Thank you Adrian, Wilma and Roy, for your kind comments.