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Skye, Peinduin


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Fort (Prehistoric)

Site Name Skye, Peinduin

Classification Fort (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Pe An Duin

Canmore ID 11130

Site Number NG35NE 2

NGR NG 3882 5770

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Snizort
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes ( - 1971)

NG35NE 2 3882 5770.

(NG 3882 5770) Dun (NR)

OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

Dun near Penduin: The oval summit of a flat-topped eminence, 300 yards NE of the ruined house of Penduin is surrounded by the remains of a stone wall built on the edge of the rocks, which varies from 5-16' in width according to its accessibility and encloses an area with axes some 200' and 90' in length. At the SE end of the wall, a mass of tumbled stones still rises 5' above the interior and from 5-12' above the exterior level. Across the SE projection of the ridge, some 28' from the inner wall, four large stones set on edge may indicate an outer defence. The entrance, about 4' wide, is near the middle of the E side. An enclosure inside the dun against the SW wall is 35' across and 5' deep surrounded by a tumbled mass of stone walling once about 9'. A tumbled walled and roofed pass- age 3' wide and 26' long connects this enclosure with a corbelled oval cell 18' long built against the main wall; it looks like an earth-house. To the S are indications of one or more hut circles.

(RCAHMS 1928, visited 1921).

A fort generally as described and planned by RCAHM. The outer defence can be traced around the whole of the S arc mainly as a rickle of stones on a change of slope, with occasional outer facing stones visible. (See amended RCAHMS plan).

The enclosure within the fort appears to be a circular stone-walled hut similar to that at Dun Borve (NG35NE 6 ). Traces of the inner face survive in the N and W arcs giving an estimated internal diameter of 10.5m, with the wall spread to c.2.5m. The entrance is not evident. The SW arc of the inner face appears to abut onto the inner face of the fort wall but the spread of debris at this point makes it uncertain whether the hut has been built against the fort wall or has overlaid it.

Probably contemporary with the hut are the passage and cell compared with an earth house by RCAHMS. They are now tumbled and filled with debris. There is no trace of lintels or other indications of roofing. To the S of the passage is a rocky platform but there are no traces of the hut circles mentioned by RCAHMS who have probably misinterpreted tumble from the fort wall. Immediately to the N of the passage are traces of a circular structure, c.4.0m internal diameter, of uncertain character.

Visited by OS (R L) 30 September 1971.


Field Visit (3 June 1921)

Dun near Peinduin (Pe an Duin).

About 350 yards west of the road from Portree to Uig, 11 miles from the former place and some 300 yards east by north of the ruined house of Peinduin, in which Flora Macdonald died, is a flat-topped eminence reaching a height of about 100 feet above sea-level. For the greater part of its length on the north-eastern flank it rises in a cliff some 60 feet high and to the south-west is a steep rocky scarp 20 to 30 feet high, while from the south-east it is approached by a gradual rise. The summit, which is of irregular oval shape, is surrounded by the remains of a stone wall built on the edge of the rocks, which varies in width according to its accessibility and encloses an area with axes some 200 feet and 90 feet in length, the longer lying north-west and south-east. At the south-eastern end of the wall, a mass of tumbled stones shows a width of 16 feet and still rises 5 feet above the interior and from 5 to 12 feet above the exterior level. Turning northward along the eastern flank it is reduced to a width of 9½ feet, and when the precipitous part is reached seems again to be diminished to about 5 feet in thickness up to the northern end. Along the western flank, which though steep and rocky, is not inaccessible, the wall now almost entirely gone seems to have been of considerable strength and from 7 to 12 feet in thickness. Across the south-eastern projection of the ridge, some 28 feet from the inner wall, four larger stones set on edge may indicate an outer defence. The entrance to the fort, about 4 feet wide, is near the middle of the east flank. Its approach must have followed a tortuous course from the south-east up the steep rocky slope.

The dun contains a number of interesting structural features within the enceinte. An area 35 feet in diameter and 5 feet in depth, probably a chamber and excavated, which has been surrounded by a stone wall possibly 9 feet in thickness and now a tumbled mass, abuts on the south-western wall. At this part of the wall there were slight indications that it may have contained a narrow gallery within its thickness.

Perhaps the most interesting feature, however, is seen to the east of the large circle. A walled passage almost filled with debris, apparently 3 feet wide and 26 feet in length, connects it with what seems to have been an oval cell corbelled internally, about 18 feet in length built against the inside of the main wall. This is also filled with tumbled stones, but everything points to the passage and chamber having been roofed over, forming a structure like that disclosed in an earth-house. Against the main wall to the south of these structures are indications of one or more hut circles.

RCAHMS 1928, visited 3 June 1921.

OS map: Skye x.

Note (15 January 2015 - 30 May 2016)

This fort occupies the summit of a flat-topped stack standing some 18m above the surrounding land and girt with cliffs around all its flanks except for the SE. Roughly oval on plan, the wall follows the margin of the summit to enclose an area measuring 60m from NW to SE by up to 27m transversely (0.12ha). The wall is thickest at the more accessible SE end, where it has been reduced to a mound of rubble some 5m in thickness and still standing up to 1.5m high internally and 3.5m externally; elsewhere along the flanks it reduces in thickness and may be little more than 1.5m on the N. In 1921 RCAHMS investigators also noted four large stones set on edge on the leading edhe of a terrace below the main wall on the SE and suggested that they belonged to an outer wall on this side. The entrance is on the E and gives onto a steep and rocky slope. The greater part of the interior is featureless, but the SE end is occupied by a large circular building measuring about 10.5m in diameter within a wall spread 2.5m in thickness; this is unlikely to be contemporary with the fort wall and probably overlies it. A sunken passage some 0.9m wide extends through the wall of the building on the E, turning ENE across to reach a corbelled cell apparently built against the inner face of the fort wall on the E.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 30 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2703


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