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Note

Date 29 September 2014 - 9 August 2016

Event ID 1044616

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Note

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/1044616

This large headland, girt by cliffs everywhere except the SE, is crossed transversely by a series of rocky ribs separated by grassy gullies, which combine to give a distinctive stepped profile from the S and forms a prominent landmark on Islay's W coast. Two walls cut across the neck of the promontory, the inner adopting the leading edge of the first of these ribs on the S before swinging round the top of a broad gully to descend the slope to the cliff-edge on the N, and the outer the edge of a terrace on the slope below it on the SE; at least two possible points of access are also blocked by short lengths of wall. To the NW the interior extends for a distance of some 165m (2.33ha) and includes two of the grassy gullies cutting transversely across its axis, though there is no trace of any occupation in either. On the upper slope of the rib behind the inner wall, however, there are at least seven small irregular platforms, which the RCAHMS investigators suggested were probably rectangular rather than circular, and were perhaps associated with another three that they believed overlay the entrance through the outer wall adjacent to the SW margin of the promontory. This takes in an additional 0.5ha, largely made up of the terrace below the inner wall, which has also been enclosed by a later field bank and cultivated in rigs. While the three platforms observed by RCAHMS are set across a natural ramp extending up the slope, the configuration of the defences at this point is unclear, partly on account of the heavy stone robbing, and the entrance may have been lower down the ramp, where a natural cleft in the outcrops provides a natural line of access through the wall and up onto the terrace. Despite the uncertainty about the precise course of the outer wall here, there is evidence of a wall following the outer margin of the ramp and the two lines may have overlapped to form a confined entrance passage. Two gaps have also been identified in the inner wall, controlling access to the seaward end of the promontory. The interior has evidently been enclosed and utilised in later periods, which, as RCAHMS suggest, may account for the construction of the small platforms.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 09 August 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2117

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