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Date 25 May 2015 - 18 November 2016

Event ID 1044564

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Note


This fort is situated on Kinpurney Hill, which is crowned by the shell of an observatory tower built in 1774, from which it was claimed in 1791 that St Abbs Head, Berwickshire could be seen, along with parts of ten or eleven separate counties (Stat Acct, iii, 1791, 403). Roughly oval on plan, the interior of the fort measures about 360m from NE to SW by 240m transversely (6.83ha). The defences comprise a single rampart accompanied by an external ditch, though at best these are reduced to a scarp dropping some 2m to a narrow terrace, and along the lip of the rocky slope along the SE flank there is little trace of either. Nevertheless, at least four probable entrances can be identified on the NNE, NE, WSW and WNW respectively, of which that on the NE has possible traces of short inturns to either side of a trackway leading up into the interior, while that on the WSW forms a deep re-entrant where the rampart turns inwards to either side of a shallow natural gully apparently facing towards Schiehallion, a distant summit that can be discerned on the horizon some 60km to the WNW; the other two gaps are also in shallow gullies. No clear stances for timber round-houses are visible within the interior, and apart from the tower on the summit the only other feature is a roughly square plantation enclosure of about 1.35ha surrounding it. The ephemeral character of the defences led Richard Feachem to suggest the fort was unfinished, but the slight stature of the rampart in general, and its apparent absence along the SE flank, is entirely in keeping with other large hilltop enclosures and the circuit is probably much as the builders intended it.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 18 November 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC3073

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