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Publication Account

Date 1995

Event ID 1016749

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/1016749

The fort occupies the summit of a ridge standing high above Strath Peffer with steep slopes to north and south but a gentler approach at the west end where the ridge continues. It is covered in grass which is a pleasant change from the tough heather of so many Highland forts.

The fort is subrectangular in plan, and its stone rampart is heavily vitrified. Great masses of vitrified rock outcrop along the south rampart in particular, where in places stones can be seen to have partly melted, started to run out like thick treacle, and then solidified again. An unusual feature of this fort is that lines of vitrified rampart lead out east and west from either end. These may have been ramparts with breastworks each side, built to prevent attack along the narrow spine of the ridge. There are traces of an outer rampart round part of the circuit. Modern scientific tests (thermo-Iuminescence dating) of the vitrified stone suggest the main rampart may belong to the bronze age, but more evidence is needed. The plan of the fort is confused by three later ditches which cut across the fort from side to side: one ditch cuts across the vitri fied wall east of the fort, one across the fort itself and the other across the western wall, each with a bank on its west side. These were trenches excavated by the engineer John Williams in the 1770s as part of an early attempt to understand vitrified forts. He suggested that there was a gap between the main rampart and the end walls, so that they could be cut off if necessary by removing a drawbridge.

Inside the fort, a pond in the western half was probably a rock-cut cistern to hold rain water. West of the pond are the foundations of two more recent structures.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Highlands’, (1995).

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