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Islay, Loch Nan Clach

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Loch Nan Clach

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 38094

Site Number NR45SW 5

NGR NR 4312 5107

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kildalton And Oa
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR45SW 5 4312 5107.

NR 432 508. A small fort, measuring 147ft N-S by 60ft transversely, lies some 400yds WNW of Dun Beag (NR45SW 6). Its heavy drystone wall, 6ft to 8ft wide, stands some 6ft high beside the slightly inturned S entrance. A hut circle 14ft to 15ft across, within a 3ft wide stone wall, lies just within the entrance, with, immediately N, a slightly smaller circle. Beneath this may be detected the outlines of three to five earlier huts.

F Newall 1964.

At NR 4311 5105, occupying the elongated summit of a cliff-girt ridge is a fort measuring 76.0m NE-SW by about 15.0m transversely at its widest point. The slightly inturned, curving entrance with a door check is at the south-west end at the only practical means of approach; here the wall is unusually well-preserved being 1.5m maximum external height and 2.8m wide.

The wall is also clearly evident at the vulnerable north-east end, but elsewhere it is visible only at those points where access is possible, and there is no trace of wall material where the cliffs are at their steepest. The interior is featureless except for a recent sub-circular enclosure built against the inner side of the fort wall.

See 1:1250 enlargement.

Surveyed at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (NKB) 25 March 1979; Information from RCAHMS.

This fort stands on a narrow elongated ridge 500m NE of Loch nan Clach and 200m N of the fort Dun Beag, Kintour. With its longer axis running NE and SW, the ridge rises 18.5m above the surrounding ground to a height of 120m OD, with steep rocky sides but relatively easy access from each end. A broad gully separates the sw end from a smaller rocky knoll, which has no walling on it.

The fort wall, which originally enclosed an area measuring about 76m in length by 16m in greatest breadth, is best

preserved on the W, where it leaves the summit to include a lower rock terrace. In this arc there are several massive outer facing-stones, and as the wall approaches the entrance, at the sw end, the outer face is up to 1.6m high, and built in many rough courses based here and there on a foundation of substantial boulders. Elesewhere, along the NW side and round the NE end, the wall has been reduced to a light band of rubble core material accompanied by intermittent stretches of the outer face, while along the SE side little more survives than a few isolated outer facing-stones.

The entrance is so placed as to make use of a large boss of natural rock, which was incorporated into the masonry

forminc the NW side-wall of the oassaee. The outer corner on this side has gone but the inner part is still exposed to a height of 1.5m. The block of walling on the SE side of the entrance has largely collapsed, but the two lowest courses of the SE side-wall survive almost complete and show that the passage has an average width of 1.3m and is not checked for a door.

Lying among the debris in the passage there are four long slabs (the largest 2.1m in length and 0.3m in both breadth

and thickness), which appear to be dislodged lintels. Immediately W of the inner end of the passage the only

remaining stretch of the inner face of the fort wall can be seen riding over the large rock mass and showing that at this point the wall is 2.8m thick.

Longitudinal combs of outcrop run the length of the interior, which is otherwise featureless except for the stone

foundations of a subcircular enclosure of no great age built on to the inner edge of the fort wall on the SW.



Note (6 October 2014 - 4 August 2016)

This fort encloses the summit of a narrow rocky ridge rising out of open moorland. Defended by a single wall up to 2.8m thick, the interior measures about 76m from NE to SW by a maximum of 16m transversely (0.1ha), not only taking in the rocky spine of the ridge but also a lower terrace on its NW flank. The wall itself is best preserved approaching the entrance at the SW end, where the outer face still stands up to 1.6m in height, though elsewhere it has been reduced to an intermittent band of rubble with several runs of outer face. The masonry on the SE side of the entrance has largely collapsed, but the passageway measures about 1.3m wide, and at the inner end of its NW side, which is founded to take advantage of a boss of outcrop, the face is 1.5m high; four probable lintels up to 2.1m in length lie in the rubble, suggesting that the passageway was at least partly roofed. The only structure visible within the interior is a late animal pen built immediately in the rear of the wall on the W.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 04 August 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC2175


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