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Dun Creich

Castle (Medieval), Fort (Prehistoric), Vitrified Stone (Prehistoric)

Site Name Dun Creich

Classification Castle (Medieval), Fort (Prehistoric), Vitrified Stone (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 13808

Site Number NH68NE 1

NGR NH 6510 8824

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Creich (Sutherland)
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NH68NE 1 6510 8824

(NH 6510 8824) Dun Creich (NR) Vitrified Fort (NR)

OS 6" map, Sutherland, 2nd ed., (1907)

Dun Creich: A fort occupying the summit of a peninsula rising 370' above the Dornoch Firth and heavily overgrown. The summit of the hill is enclosed by a rampart measuring 260' x 220', but the highest part of it is further defended by another rampart enclosing an area 170' x 100'. In the centre of the inner area are the ruins of a castle said to have been built by Paul Mactire in the 13th century, and it is not impossible that the two are closely connected. A patch of vitrifaction of a massive nature is exposed outside and beneath the W arc of the inner rampart. Although the circumstances are obscure, it may be an earlier wall, robbed and overlain by the inner rampart.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909; M A Cotton 1954; R W Feachem 1963.

Dun Creich is in such a ruinous condition that an accurate assessment is impossible without excavation, but at least three periods appear to be represented; the outer wall, which is probably not contemporary with the inner wall, and the medieval tower.

The topographical situation and the size of the area enclosed by the outer wall are correctly described by Feachem (1963). The course of the outer wall is clear but it is denuded and as no faces are visible its thickness cannot be determined. Outcrop rock is occasionally incorporated in its construction. There are two gaps, probably entrances, one in the W and the other opposite in the E. Immediately inside it on the NW are the more substantial remains of another, probably later, wall about 3.0m thick and some 40.0m long.

The inner wall on encloses an area c.100' E-W by c.70' N-S, but it is so reduced that its course is difficult to trace. The outer wall may overlie it in the N. The patch of vitrified material remains as described.

Within the inner wall the highest point of the hill is the castle, a simple rectangular tower, now reduced almost to its foundations. Traces of the inner face suggest internal measurements of c.6.5m E-W by c.5.5m, within a wall c.2.3m thick. It is surrounded by a ruined sub-rectangular wall at a distance of c.3.0m in the S and c.5.0m elsewhere. The "well", outside the outer wall in the S, is a fissure in the rock which still contains water.

Revised at 1/2500 (OS [WDJ] 28 May 1963).

Visited by OS (A A) 11 November 1969.

(NH 6510 8824) Dun Creich (NAT)

Fort (NR)

OS 25" map, (1969)

Dun Creich is generally as described in the previous field report, the only point of contention being the 'inner wall', which is described as enclosing an area about 100ft by 70ft. It appears that this rampart has been overlaid for much of its extent by the 'ruined sub-rectangular wall' which surrounds the castle and it is no longer possible to determine the area enclosed by this rampart.

Revised at 1:10,000

Visited by OS (J B) 12 September 1980.


Field Visit (27 July 1909)

54. Vitrified Fort, Dun Creich. On the summit of a wooded hill which projects into the Dornoch Firth from its N. bank, about 3½ m. SE. of Bonarbridge, is situated the Dun of Creich. To seaward it, presents an almost precipitous front, and hardly less accessible are the slopes on its N. and S. flanks. The hill attains an altitude of 370', and, from the westward, is easily ascended along a narrow ridge, which culminates in a rocky summit. Here a single rampart of stone encloses a circular area measuring about 260' from NE. to SW. by 220' from NW. to SE. (O.S. measurement). The highest portion of this area, which is towards the N., has again been further fortified by an inner rampart, now insignificant, along the top of a rocky scarp, and measures about 167' from E. to W. by 96' from N. to S. In the centre of this inner area, and enclosed within a low bank about 10' from its walls, are the fragmentary ruins of a rectangular mortar-built structure measuring 18' by 25', said to be the castle built by Paul Mactire in the 13th century. The main outer rampart of the original construction is highest towards the S., where it measures some 4' high and 12' wide on base. The principal approach appears to have led up a steep slope from the NE. to an entrance at the seaward end of the fort. Within the interior on the

N. of this entrance is a depression which appears to be round and lined _with stone, measuring about 12' by 8', while on the opposite side are indications of similar remains. The width of the entrance is indefinite, and there is much vegetation, which obscures the details. Towards the S. there appears to have been another entrance of less importance. At the W. or landward end of the inner enclosure is a natural bastion, and at the base of this lies a large mass of wall, vitrified throughout. At the highest point on the S. side of the outer rampart there is a partially vitrified stone projecting. The natural rock is a reddish micaceous schist. The ramparts are much overgrown with turf.

See Gordon, pp. 8, 37; New Stat. Acct. Suth., etc., xv. p. 18;

Sutherland and the Reay Country, p. 108.

OS 6-inch map: Sutherland Sheet cxi.

RCAHMS 1911, visited (AOC) 27th July 1909.

Note (13 March 2015 - 31 August 2016)

This fort encloses the summit of a ridge that rises from the southern end of a spit of land running out into the Dornoch Firth from the Sutherland shore. Its defences comprise two walls forming inner and outer enclosures, and at the centre of the inner the foundation of a rectangular medieval keep can also be seen. The inner wall, which has been heavily robbed, encloses an oval area measuring about 52m from E to W by 30m transversely (0.12ha), and at the foot of a slope immediately outside its line on the W there is a large mass of vitrifaction. The outer enclosure takes in a much larger area, and measures about 80m from NE to SW by 67m transversely within an equally ruinous wall, which follows the lip of the steep and rocky flanks of the hill on the N, E and S; in 1911 Alexander Curle also found a piece of vitrified stone in this line on the S. Two entrances into the outer enclosure are visible, one approached up the steep slope on the E, and the other up the more accessible crest of the ridge from the W. Apart from the keep, which itself stands within a small enclosure, the interior is featureless. A well shown on OS maps immediately outside the outer enclosure on the S is a natural crevice which gathers water. The relationship between the inner and outer enclosures is unknown.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 31 August 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2900


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