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Dun Dearg, Valtos, Skye

Fort (Prehistoric)

Site Name Dun Dearg, Valtos, Skye

Classification Fort (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 11533

Site Number NG56SW 2

NGR NG 5137 6430

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/11533

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

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

Archaeology Notes

NG56SW 2 5137 6430.

(NG 5137 6430) Dun Dearg (NR)

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

The site of Dun Dearg is an elevated plateau on the sea-shore some 88 yards N-S and some 40 yards E-W, bordered on all sides except the N by precipitous rocks. Along the greater part of the eastern side they rise directly from the shore for a height of about 200', on the S. they are about 30' high, and on the W they gradually decrease in height till at the northern edge they merge into a narrow ridge on the edge of the cliff, by which access to the fort is gained. The first defence, a stone wall, is built across this ridge from the edge of the cliff on the E to the rocks on the western flank, a distance of some 60', it is then carried a short distance southwards towards the fort. The wall is almost entirely swept away, but at the entrance, which seems to be about 4' wide and which is placed near the centre of the ridge, it shows a width of some 6'6". The inner wall, built on the edge of the plateau some 55' from, and 14' higher than, the outer rampart, though much dilapidated, shows more building than the outer defence. It can be traced across the northern end of the fort and for a considerable distance along the western flank. The entrance through it is near the middle of the northern end, but is too much broken down for measurement.

At the base of the rocks on the NW side of the fort are the foundations of a number of stone structures, one being circular with an internal diameter of about 9'.

RCAHMS 1928.

Dun Dearg, a fort as described above, is in poor condition.

Visited by OS (A S P) 25 April 1961.

Activities

Field Visit (31 August 1915)

Dun Dearg, Valtos.

The site of Dun Dearg is an elevated plateau on the sea-shore at the northern boundary of the township of Valtos. The plateau, which measures some 88 yards-from north to south, and some 40 yards from east to west, is bordered on all sides except the north by precipitous rocks. Along the greater part of the eastern side they rise directly from the shore for a height of about 200 feet, on the south they are about 30 feet high, and on the east they gradually decrease in height till at the northern end they merge into a narrow ridge on the edge of the cliff, by which access to the fort is gained in a gradual ascent. The first defence, a stone wall, is built across this ridge, from the edge of the cliff on the east to the rocks on the western flank, a distance of some 60 feet; it then is carried a short distance southwards towards the fort. The wall is almost entirely swept away, but at the entrance, which seems to be about 4 feet wide and which is placed near the centre of the ridge, it shows a width of some 6 feet 6 inches. The inner wall, built on the edge of the plateau some 55 feet from, and 14 feet higher than, the outer rampart, though much dilapidated, shows more building than the outer defence. It can be· traced across the northern end of the fort and for a considerable distance along the western flank. The entrance through it is near the middle of the northern end but is too much broken down for measurement. To the east of the entrance the outer face of the wall, showing some large blocks of stone in its structure, maintains a height of about 3 feet over a length of some 15 feet. It seems to have been about 8 feet thick and is reduced to a height of 1 foot 6 inches or 2 feet above the interior. A large natural hollow, open towards the sea, occupies a large portion of the interior of the dun.

At the base of the rocks on the north-westside of the fort are the foundations of a number of stone structures, one being circular with an internal diameter of about 9 feet.

RCAHMS 1928, visited 31 August 1915

OS map: Skye viii.

Note (20 January 2015 - 18 May 2016)

This fort occupies the summit of an isolated hillock that forms part of the coastal escarpment at Valtos, dropping some 60m to the sea on the NE and decreasing from 10m around the W flank to a narrow sloping neck providing access from the N. On the slope dropping down into the neck, the route to the top of the hillock is barred by at least two walls set up to 17m apart, both of which are largely reduced to grass-grown bands of rubble and pierced by centrally placed entrances. The inner wall, which was probably about 2.4m in thickness and retains several course of its outer face to the E of the entrance, is set on the crest of the hillock and can also be traced some distance along the cliff-edge on the W. The outer wall also turns back along the cliff-edge on the W. In addition to these walls, Ann MacSween's sketch plan shows a third at the narrowest point on the neck, but makes no mention of it in her notes; possibly this line is no more than an element of the later field-system that encloses the surrounding area. The greater part of the interior of the fort, which measures about 80m from NNW to SSE by 45m transversely (0.3ha), is taken up by a deep natural hollow opening out towards the sea.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 18 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2722

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