Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

All our staffed properties, sites and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, are currently closed, but we’re working on plans to gradually reopen. In the meantime, you can access our services online. Find out more.

Scheduled Website Maintenance 14/07/20 00:00 – 04:00GMT – There will be periods of time during this window when this website will be unavailable.

Field Visit

Date 16 April 1957

Event ID 927562

Category Recording

Type Field Visit


Fort, Dun Evan.

This fort occupies a rocky eminence which rises from the high ground between the Allt Dearg and the River Nairn to attain a height of 678 feet O. D. It commands a wide view in all directions, including the lower part of the valley of the River Nairn to its mouth at Nairn seven miles to the NE. The oval summit of the rock is comparatively level and measures about 280 feet in length from NE. to SW. by about 95 feet in width. The ruins of a stone wall (I) lie upon it but do not coincide exactly with the whole of its margin, for although the NW. and SE. sections of the two coincide the NE. and SW. arcs of the wall run across the surface of the plateau at a maximum distance of 35 feet from its edges. The wall, which thus encloses an area measuring 195 feet in length by 85 feet in breadth, consists of a grass-grown mound of stones and boulders rising to a height of 4 feet from the ground outside and spreading to between 15 feet and 25 feet in width. No facing-stones could be distinguished in this substantial ruin. The entrance is in the E.

The two almost semi-circular arcs of the margin of the summit plateau which protrude beyond each end of the enclosure formed by wall I are also bordered with enough stones and boulders to show that they were once defended by a stone wall. The remains of this are very slight, particularly along the NE. arc, but are sufficient to show that the ruin of wall I overlies them at the points of contact. It is thus demonstrated that the two arcs, now separated by wall I, originally formed parts of a wall (II) which ran right round the margin of the summit plateau to enclose the whole of this. Wall II was probably never so stout as wall I, and was doubtless robbed of many of its stones to help in the construction of the latter. The entrance to the enclosure formed by wall II was probably in the E. where the present track comes over the crest on its way to the entrance to the enclosure formed by wall I.

The various elements which comprise the outer defences occur at places lower down the flanks of the rock. On the date of visit, while the upper part of the rock was covered by coarse grass and annual weeds, the lower slopes were to a great extent clothed in scrub, trees and fallen timber, and it was thus not always possible to gain a clear Sight of the remains of outer works. Three principal elements how: ever fall to be described. The first is an arc of ruined walling (III), represented by a scatter of stones along a partly artificial crest-line which traverses the NE. flank of the knoll in an arc 130 feet in length. To the .the wall and the crest die out on the flank, while to the S. they end at the side of the entrance roadway.

Beyond the road to SE. and S. the flanks of the rock increase in steepness so that for a space of nearly 200 feet no defence was necessary. As the steepness begins to decrease again along the SSE. flank, however, a wall (IV) of similar appearance and situation to all three begins to appear. It runs S. and SW. for about 180 feet, at the end of which it reaches the level of the base of the rock, although the ground continues to fall, albeit less steeply, to the SSW.

While to the N. and NW. the rock rises somewhat abruptly from more gradual sloping ground, to the W the land below falls for some distance almost as steeply as do the flanks of the rock. Likewise, while the land immediately S. of the rock falls away only gradually, the steep descent to the W. is carried S. in the form of a low cliff. The next element of outer defences of the fort to be considered is another ruinous wall (V) which originates in the thick scrub which/covers the crest of the low cliff referred to at a point about 60 feet of the S. apex of the rock. The wall appears as a stoney, often grass-grown, mound which runs N. along the crest of the low cliff and, where this merges With the flank of the rock, along an artificial crest formed by an internal quarry ditch to the NW and N, where the ground beyond the rock begins to slope less and less steeply away, the ruin of the wall becomes more and more substantial until, towards its termination near the side of the access road, an immense quantity of blocks and slabs of stone occurs. This part of the was covered structure/in particularly dense scrub, dead timber and living trees; but it was possible to measure the height of the tumbled debris near the NE. end of wall V as 14 feet from the lowest courses of same laid facing stones which appear at the base of the mass. As can be seen on the plan, the NE end of wall V is connected to the NE. arc of wall III by two parallel lines of ruined walling (VI and VII). One of these (VI) flanks the entrance roadway and the other (VII) lies from 25 feet to 35 feet NW. it. Both of these consist of great tumbled masses of stones and boulders, and there is a corresponding additional weight of debris along the course of wall III between the SW ends of VI and VII.

The exact nature and identity of the structure or structures represented by the complex made up of the walls VI and VII and the adjacent stretches of V and III is not at once obvious. Although at first sight the almost rectangular complex might, on plan, suggest a building, this is rendered unlikely by the fact that between walls VI and VII there is a rise of 22 feet between walls III and V. It is possible that walls VI and VII merely represent cross walls designed to strengthen the defences. The great weight of the ruins, and especially the huge mound of wall V as it runs between the NE. ends of VI and VII, gives the observer the impression that the complex was built on a larger scale than were the rest of the walls. The weight of the debris of wall V only attains normal proportions until quite near the end when it rather suddenly increases to the size already remarked. However, an adequate examination of the surface remains must wait until the enveloping living and dead vegetation is cleared from the ruins.

The access road, which runs obliquely up the SE. flank of the rock before turning up through wall II and into the enclosure formed by wall I is bordered along its outer or SE. side by a considerable tumble of stones and boulders. It is possible that these and the roadway represent the original entry and the ruin of a wall designed to cover it; but it is also possible that the stones have first fallen from the various ruins which lie above or NW. of the roadway and have then been cleared off the latter to form a scatter on the slopes immediately below it.

Visited by RCAHMS 16 April 1957

People and Organisations

Digital Images