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Vatersay, Biruaslum

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Vatersay, Biruaslum

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Bhatarsaigh

Canmore ID 21396

Site Number NL69NW 4

NGR NL 6107 9633

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NL69NW 4 6107 9633.

(NL 6107 9633) A dun is situated on the small island of Biruaslum off the west coast of Vatersay. It is situated above a flat shelf, itself above the rocky gorge which separates the two islands, and "is a strong stone wall, the ends of which rest on the rocky shore about 100 yards apart, and which curves up for about 50 yards from the base of the hill. Viewed from the shore the outer face of the wall, that is on the concave and lower side, stands about 3 feet high, and it seems to be about 9 feet thick. On the north-western curve several bluffs of rock interpose, and the wall is discontinued at these places".

RCAHMS 1928.

This promontory fort is generally as described by RCAHMS.

It is best preserved at the south east end where the wall is 3.0m thick and 2.0m high. Attached to the uphill side of the wall at the south east angle are the remains of a small oval structure 5.5m long and 3.4m wide.

Visited by OS (W D J) 18 May 1965.


Note (4 November 2014 - 13 December 2016)

The tidal island that forms a high cliff-girt promontory on the W coast of Vatersay is defended on the landward side overlooking the narrow isthmus that links it to the main island by a wall drawn in an arc riding up the slope from its terminals on the rocky shore. Some 110m in overall length, the wall measures about 3m in thickness and where best preserved at its southern end is about 2m high. The area cut off within the cliff-line, which rises towards the summit in the centre, measures some 390m from E to W by a maximum of 300m transversely (9.8ha). Immediately to the rear of the wall, strung out along the edge of the cliff on the S flank of the island there are about eleven circular structures between 3.5m and 8m in diameter and an oval pen, some of which are linked by walls to form two larger enclosures; in addition there are several other structures scattered to the W; the date and purpose of these structures are unknown, and while some may be relatively modern pens, others in the major clusters on the S may be huts (Branigan and Foster 2000, BM1-6).

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 13 December 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2483


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