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Dun Creagach

Broch (Iron Age)

Site Name Dun Creagach

Classification Broch (Iron Age)

Canmore ID 5597

Site Number NC63NW 11

NGR NC 6046 3558

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Farr
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC63NW 11 6046 3558

(NC 6046 3558) Broch (NR)

The remains of a broch, Dun Creagach, with outworks, situated on an island but connected to the shore by a causeway. The broch measures 31ft in diameter within a wall about 13ft6ins thick which stands to a general height of about 11ft externally. The interior is debris-filled, only 4ft of the walling being exposed. The entrance, in the east, is 2ft 6ins to 3ft wide and is almost filled with stones, but it is possible to establish that there has been a guard chamber and that the lintel stones remain in situ over most of the passage. A stone wall flanks the broch at a distance of 15ft on the SW and swings round through the south towards the entrance but its connection is concealed by a mass of fallen stone. A doorway, 3ft wide, whose jambs are still in situ has led through the wall on to the causeway which is about 10ft broad and 100ft long, formed of rough boulders.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

Generally as described by the RCAHMS, this broch survives to a maximum height of 2.5m, the circuit of both faces of the wall being almost complete. The entrance to a debris-filled chamber is visible in the SW segment. The outwork is an earth and stone wall 3.0m wide and 0.9m high.

Visited by OS (W D J) 11 May 1961.

The broch is generally as described and illustrated by the previous authorities. Two mural passages in the SE and N can be traced intermittently around the wall summit. The name 'Dun Creagach' (RCAHMS 1911) is not known locally.

Visited by OS (J B) 12 April 1977.


Publication Account (2007)



This well preserved and comparatively undisturbed broch in Farr, Sutherland, stands on a small island on the south side of Loch Naver (visited 20/7/85). In 1860 it was described as a “circular tower, built of large stones without cement” [3] and the outer wall still stands 3m high in places.

The site is reached by a causeway to the shore, formed of rough boulders, 30.5m (100ft) long and about 3.05m (10ft) broad. This causeway now extends about 18m inland [5] so the water level of the loch may have sunk somewhat since the broch was built. Alternatively the shore may have been more marshy then, or the causeway may have been constructed to accommodate the often higher level of the loch in winter [5]. Judging from Outer Hebridean examples the top of the causeway should be just below the surface but this one is at least 30cm above it and there is now no effective protection for the islet at all. However this interpretation depends on the assumption that the causeway was part of the broch's defences, and therefore mainly just below water, which is by no means certain. At Dun Torcuill the causeway simply runs over marshy ground and looks more like a broad, turf-covered dry path towards the broch (site NF87 4); however there was a medieval re-occupation here and the massive causeway may belong to that period. A better example of an almost submerged Iron Age causeway is at Dun Barabhat, Lewis (NB03 1).

Few structural features are visible now because of the quantities of rubble covering and surrounding the building, and indeed the site might repay a careful survey to assess how much stone is lying around since little seems to have been moved (unless by boat, but there are no buildings nearby). The maximum height of the wall is about 3.36m (11ft) and the outer face – which can be traced nearly all the way round – stands about 1.22m (4ft) above the debris which fills and surrounds it.

In 1909 the entrance was reported as being on the east side, as being 76cm (2.5ft) wide at the outer end and nearly full of debris; no checks were then apparent but a blocked guard cell was visible on the right [2]. Most of the passage lintels were then in position [2]. Swanson suggests that a line of walling visible in this position is one side of the chamber over the entrance [5], in which case the structure must be a hollow-walled broch. The lower levels are now completely buried.

The interior is full of debris almost up to the level of the wallhead but the inner wallface is well preserved. On the south, or shoreward, side (at about 9 o'clock) an opening from the interior is visible leading to an intra-mural gallery extending in both directions; this must be a raised void leading to a raised gallery. A row of lintels covers this gallery. Whether this void is above the buried doorway to the intra-mural stair is not clear but it seems likely that it is. No steps are visible on the wallhead.

To the left of the raised void or doorway is a pair of lintels, also aligned radially to the building but below the roofing lintels; their significance is not clear. On the north side a short stretch of the upper gallery is visible on the wallhead, with one lintel of what is presumably a lower level visible; if this is so the structure might be a ground-galleried broch, and it is certainly a true hollow-walled broch. Swanson maintains that traces of a ground level gallery with two more on top of it are visible [5].

There is no scarcement on the visible parts of the interior wallface but, since this seems to be well above the floor, the ledge may be buried. The entrance to a debris-filled mural chamber was seen on the south-west in 1961 [1], but this must be the feature described earlier is and assumed here probably to be the void above the stair door.

There is a probable stone outer wall 4.58m (15ft) from the broch on the shore side. A doorway 90cm (3ft) wide can be seen in this facing down the causeway and having door-checks in it still preserved [2].

Dimensions: the external diameter is difficult to estimate since any wall thickness can be measured only at the wallhead (where it is 4.12m, or 13ft 6in: the internal diameter is 9.46m (31ft).

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NC 63 NW 11: 2. RCAHMS 1911a, 59, no. 175: 3. Joass 1865, 358. 4. Oliver and Boyd's Tourist 1860: 5. Swanson (ms) 1985, 753-54.

E W MacKie 2007


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