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North Uist, Loch Aonghais, Dun Aonais

Building(S) (Medieval), Causeway (Prehistoric), Dun (Prehistoric)

Site Name North Uist, Loch Aonghais, Dun Aonais

Classification Building(S) (Medieval), Causeway (Prehistoric), Dun (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 10366

Site Number NF87SE 4

NGR NF 8560 7381

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/10366

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish North Uist
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NF87SE 4 8560 7381.

(NF 8560 7381) Dun Aonais (NR) (Site of)

OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1901)

Dun Aonghuis (fort of Angus) occupies the whole of the island on which it stands. The circular island is about 34 yards in diameter over a fairly well preserved wall which surrounds it close to the water's edge. There is a boat-entrance on the NW and a causeway on the E connecting the island to the nearest shore.

Foundations of a building 38ft N-S x 12ft E-W can be traced in the centre (E Beveridge 1911), and the Commission (RCAHMS 1928) describe a smaller one to the SE.

The dun is said to have been occupied by Aonghas Fionn (information from MacKenzie, 'History of the MacDonalds', 225) c. 1516.

E Beveridge 1911; RCAHMS 1928.

Dun Aonais is as described by Beveridge and the Commission. It is probable that the interior buildings are contemporary.

Surveyed at 1/10,560.

Visited by OS (R D) 27 June 1965.

Activities

Field Visit (17 July 1924)

Dun Aonais (or Aonghuis).

Loch Aonaislies by the roadside behind some cottages, about six miles north-west of Lochmaddy. In it is an island enclosed, as in so many other examples in North Uist, with a drystone wall, which follows the sinuosities of the shore close up to the water, except on a small portion of the southern margin and a rather larger part of that on the north; elsewhere only fallen stones make up the edge between wall and water. The outer face of this wall is almost completely defined, but only for one short section (see plan, Fig. 119) can the inner face be plainly traced. Generally this inner side is a sloping grassy mound. The wall seems to have varied irregularly in thickness from about 7 to 9 feet and in places still stands to a height of 5 feet. From a position on the east sector a causeway ran to the shore, but is now wholly submerged save for a few stones on the mainland shore. It has been at least partially followed by an exploring resident. A few yards south of the island end is an entrance about 3 feet 9 inches wide. Almost directly opposite on the northern perimeter is a " boat entrance", extending for some 20 feet beyond the inner face, between parallel walls, 7 to 8 feet apart and 7 feet thick, that on the east being slightly curved outwards. These walls are now reduced to foundations.

The interior is overgrown with long grass and nettles, but was occupied across its greatest breadth by an oblong building of two apartments with a smaller building, less well defined, of similar character in the south-east corner. The interiors at least of these structures have rounded corners. West of the smaller building are some other incomplete foundations. The mainland to the east and south of the loch and its dun is a considerable stretch of hill slope, which affords good grazing; on the other sides the land is flat with a few scattered cottages. This dun appears to take its name from a certain “Angus the Fair” (Aonghas Fionn),who is said to have occupied it in the first quarter of the sixteenth century (1). He may well have been its builder.

RCAHMS 1928, visited 17 July 1924.

OS map: North Uist xxxi.

(1) Mackenzie's History of the Macdonalds, p.255

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