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Caisteal Mhicleod

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Dun (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Caisteal Mhicleod

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible), Dun (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Mcleod's Castle; Galldar

Canmore ID 11873

Site Number NG82SW 1

NGR NG 81574 20236

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Glenelg (Skye And Lochalsh)
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NG82SW 1 8155 2024

(NG 8155 2019) Castle (NR) (Site of)

OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1902)

Caisteal Mhicleod (or McLeod's Castle) situated behind the village of Galldar at the edge of a precipice, consists of a semicircular wall of irregular form (internal dimensions 18' x 34') occupying the level space of the summit.

The grass-grown wall has some stones still in situ; there is a narrow entrance on the E, a strong outwork on the N and a narrow wall forming the S side of the fort which appears to have been used for protection from the precipice. It was never a castle in the medieval sense but is said to have been last occupied by Alistair Crotach in the early 16th c, probably as a temporary residence or hunting-lodge.

L Bogle 1895.

(NG 8155 2024) Caisteal Mhicleod (NAT) Dun (NR)

OS 1:10,000map, (1971)

The dun is generally as planned by Bogle, consisting of a massive semi-circular wall best preserved in the W where several large boulders of the outer face survive and the suggestion of an inner face give a wall thickness of 4.4m. Within the wall here are two large blocks, possibly of a gallery. The wall elsewhere is poorly preserved but a few outer facing stones in the E give an overall measurement E-W of 17.3m. The interior is featureless except for an overgrown band of rubble 3.5m long and 1.2m wide running parallel with and 2.0m from the edge of the precipice. No constructional part of the entrance in the E (represented by a gap 2.0m wide at the edge of the cliff) survives. The outer wall, c. 9.0m outside the main wall in the E, is a straight revetment of large stones, 17.0m long and surviving to a height of two courses. If this is an outwork, there is no trace of its presumed extensiom N and W, and it is more likely a later wall built with stones from the main wall. Surveyed at 1:2500. (visited by OS {W D J} 5 October 1966)

The dun has many of the characteristics of the type classed as semi-brochs by MacKie. (E W Mackie 1969)

Visited by OS (A A) 21 June 1974. (E W Mackie 1969)


Publication Account (2007)

NG82 2 CAISTEAL MHICLEOD ('Mc-Leod's Castle', 'Castle Chalamine', 'Castle Malcomb')

NG/8155 2024

This possible D-shaped semibroch [1] in Glenelg, Inverness-shire, stands on the edge of a precipice. It was first mentioned by Gordon [2] and later by Pennant [3] as the nearest to the sea of the four major “Danish forts” in Glen Beag but the first to visit and describe the site seems to have been Bogle in 1895 [4].

The structure consists of a massive, irregular, grass-grown, semicircular wall occupying the level area of the summit apparently with a narrow entrance on the east side. Several heavy boulders of the outer face survive and the wall appears to be 4.4m thick. A narrow wall runs along the south along the edge of the precipice, and there is a strong outwork wall 9.0m out on the north (though this may be later [1]). There are two large blocks within the wall which might be traces of an intra-mural gallery but the identity of the site as a D-shaped semibroch is suggested mainly by its shape and situation [1].

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NG 82 SW l: 2. Gordon 1726: 3. Pennant 1998, 340: 4. Bogle 1895, 185-87: 5. Harding in Miket and Burgess 1984.

E W MacKie 2007


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