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Date 10 October 2014 - 31 August 2016

Event ID 1044662

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Note


A complex fortification with at least three lines of defence is situated on the summit of Ranachan Hill. The innermost component of the scheme is a pear-shaped enclosure on the very highest part of the summit area and possibly overrides a large circular cairn on the S. This enclosure measures 35m from N to S by a maximum of 24m transversely (0.07ha) within a wall between 2.7m and 3.7m in thickness; long runs of inner and outer facing-stones are visible all round the circuit, in one place standing up to 1.3m in five courses, but there is also evidence of what are either internal revetments or earlier faces within the body of the core, in three places apparently facing inwards, and in one outwards. A well-formed entrance on the W, which expands from 2m wide at the outer end of the passage to 2.7m at the inner, does not have built checks, but two large fallen slabs may have been jamb-stones; there is also a gap in the wall on the N. The walls of the outer enclosures are heavily robbed, the first enclosing a trapezoidal area measuring a maximum of 79m from NE to SW by 60m transversely (0.4ha), and the second springing from the first to take in an additional strip on the SE; the second, which retains extensive runs of outer face, was possibly constructed successively to enclose a larger area of 0.54ha; in addition to a well-defined entrance in the second wall on the SW, there are gaps in the first on the NE, SE and SW, though only that on the NE can be identified as a probable entrance. There are no traces of any contemporary structures within the defences, but three small subrectangular to oval structures built on the line of the wall of the outer enclosure on the NE, together with a fourth standing outside its line on the N indicate a subsequent period of occupation during the medieval or post-medieval period (cf Balloch Hill, Atlas No. 2210). In addition to these enclosures, which appear to use the topography to tactical advantage, there is a fourth line of enclosure surrounding the hilltop. For the most part reduced to little more than a scatter of stones, its full extent is unknown.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 31 August 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2219

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