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Dale Farm, Cnoc Donn

Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Site Name Dale Farm, Cnoc Donn

Classification Broch (Iron Age)(Possible)

Canmore ID 8376

Site Number ND15SW 5

NGR ND 1400 5330

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Halkirk
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

ND15SW 5 1400 5330

(ND 1400 5330) Cnoc Donn (Brough) (NR)

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

Broch, Cnoc Donn: The remains of this broch lie about 1/2 mile ESE of Dale farm. A grassy mound rising some 6 to 7ft in height above the surrounding level is cut off from the moorland by a ditch passing southward from NE to SW and varying from 60 to 66ft in width. Crowning the scarp has been a wall or rampart forming a parapet still some 3 to 4ft in height on the inside and 9 to 10ft in elevation above the bottom of the ditch. Above the counterscarp has also been a mound, now some 12 to 14ft wide at base and separated from the edge of the ditch by a berm some 7ft wide. Its greatest height is some 7ft above the bottom of the ditch. Between the parapet and the central mound which covers the buildings is a level area some 15 to 20ft in breadth, except on the W, where it appears to have been broken down. The central mound measures some 86ft from N to S by 73ft transversely, and has an elevation above the terrase at its base of 6 to 7ft. There has been an approach and entrance through the rampart from the NW. The top of the mound is pitted with numerous depressions and a portion of it towards the E has at some time been removed. Beyond the ends of the ditch the surrounding ground is, in places, marshy and the numerous sheep drains suggest that in former times it was more so.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910

The remains of the broch are as described above.

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (E G C) 16 April 1962

(ND 1400 5329) Cnoc Donn (NAT) Broch (NR)

OS 6" map, (1963)

Cnoc Donn applies to the turf-covered remains of a broch and associated outworks, generally as described by the RCAHMS except that the causewayed approach is from the SW. Vestiges of an old field bank or wall the broch-mound.

Visited by OS (J M) 25 November 1981

'Broch', 'Cnoc Donn'. Dimensions: 22 x 20m. Grassy mound 2m high surrounded by a ditch and entered from the SW.

R J Mercer, NMRS MS/828/19, 1995.


Publication Account (2007)


ND/1400 5330

Possible broch in Halkirk, Caithness, consisting of a grassy mound 1.8-2.1m (6-7ft) high on level ground with strong outer defences; the mound seems to be on top of a platform. The whole is partly surrounded by a ditch preserved from north-east southward to south-west and from 18.3-20.1m (60-66ft) wide. A parapet or wall 90-120cm (3-4ft) high on the inside runs along the inner edge of this and there is also an encircling mound beyond the ditch, separated from it by a berm 2.1m (7ft) wide. There is a causewayed approach through these outer defences on the south-west [1], and the ground beyond the ditch ends may formerly have been more marshy than it is now [1]. The plan shows no masonry [3].

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. ND 15 SW 5: 2. RCAHMS 1911b, 32, no. 103: 3. Swanson (ms) 1985, 658 and plan.

E W MacKie 2007


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