After visiting the Trussel Stone and the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, the next stop on Day 2 of our Compass Buster tour would be Dun Carloway Broch. It already seemed like we had seen so much!
Dun Carloway, or in Scots Gaelic Dùn Chàrlabhaigh, was my second favourite part of the day. It is such a fascinating structure and full of so much history. From the moment we started to climb up towards it, I knew that this was not something I had seen before or would see anywhere else.
As you can see from the sign below, Brochs date back to Roman times! These towers are found only in Scotland – particularly the Northern and Western parts of Scotland and the isles.
It was a bit of a climb up to Dun Carloway Broch – but the views along the way were typically Scottish and of course breath taking. I can’t get over how the patches of sunshine make the landscape look even more glorious than it already is! It really truly is majestic.
Dun Carloway Broch is built on a rock on a steep south-slope at the height of 50 metres. It overlooks Loch Carloway and is the best preserved Broch in the Outer Hebrides. Based on the sign below, it is apparent that such structures date back 2,300 to 1,900 years ago! They most likely housed the principal families living in the region at the time.
Brochs consist of drystone towers formed of two concentric walls, with a narrow passage and small cells. – Historic Environment Scotland
The original height of the broch is not known.
“The double skinned drystone walls support each other and make possible a high building of relatively light weight form.”
It’s interesting to note that we were able to explore the broch up close – we could even climb it :O!
There is much debate as to how the internal structure was laid out. Findings show that:
“Excavation in the northeastern room found at least three peat-ovens used in the period 400-700. In this room were also a lot of pottery remains, as well as a fragment of a quern-stone [to grind materials] and a collection of snail shells. The fireplaces contained no animal bones, which makes a domestic (preparing meals) use of the fires seem unlikely.” – Wikipedia
Supposedly, there were three openings in the structure with different rooms on different levels!
On the south side of the entrance-passage is a so-called “guard cell”, a small side room in the hallway. This is most likely the room pictured below:
The views from the Broch were extraordinary!
And the views of this Iron Age tower aren’t so bad either!
Evidence from excavations suggests Dun Carloway may have been used until about AD 1000. It’s also said to have been used as a stronghold by members of the Morrison Clan during the 1500’s.
The Morrisons of Ness put Dun Carloway into use in 1601:
“The story goes that they had stolen cattle from the MacAuleys of Uig. The MacAuleys wanted their cattle back and found the Morrisons in the broch. One of them, Donald Cam MacAuley, climbed the outer wall using two daggers and managed to smoke-out the inhabitants by throwing heather into the broch and then setting fire to it. The MacAuleys then destroyed the broch.” – Wikipedia
Supposedly after the broch was destroyed, the stones were taken for construction of other buildings. It was only in 1882 that it became one of the first officially protected monuments in Scotland, in order to prevent further decay.
If you are in the Outer Hebrides, make sure you put Dun Carloway Broch on your list of places to visit. Information on the location, driving instructions and opening times can be found here. You won’t regret it. Its history and picturesque location make it a must-see!
Now, brace yourselves for the next stop and my favourite part of the day: The Callanish Standing Stones!!!
From Vancouver with Love,
Ioana and Natalie
© Letters of Wanderlust, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any written material and/or photographs without express and written permission from this site’s authors is strictly prohibited. Please get in touch if you would like to republish any of our materials or if you would like to work on a project together!