The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

An Torr, Strathnacro

Stone Fort / Dun


Heading west from Drumnadrochit along Glen Urquhart the A83, following the course of the River Enrick, is obliged to veer sharply north a little before Loch Meiklie. The movement is significant, although a traveller without the benefit of OS map or local knowledge will probably be unaware that an ancient fortification was once constructed upon the hill towering to the east, presumably to exploit the natural protection according by the looping river, not to mention exact a toll or two in the manner of a Rhineland castle. Such is the density of the woodland cloaking An Torr, obscuring all form, all detail.

Dawn breaks at Lochletter Wood, my overnight stop below and immediately west of the site, rays from the rising sun streaming evocatively through the trees rendering any thoughts of a 'lie in' less attractive than they would normally be. Looking toward An Torr I'm intrigued by what might reside upon the hilltop.... enough to decide upon a quick visit before breakfast. The ascent is very, very steep - a rude awakening, you might say - but mercifully truncated enough to see me standing at the summit in relatively short order. First impressions initially appear somewhat mutually exclusive.... 'there's not much left here'..... and.... 'wow, what a magical place!' Further deliberation, as I regain my breath, reconciles the apparent paradox. Although the hill fort's univallate(?) defences appear to my layman's eyes more pronounced, more powerful - particularly to the north - than suggested by RCAHMS reports, the surviving archaeology to be found here would surely fail to set the heart racing of none but the most obsessed modern antiquarian. So, not much left then. Check.

And yet.... despite woodland ensuring An Torr is certainly no great viewpoint (save to the north-east, to be fair) ... sunlight filtering through the foliage, the sweet aroma of damp vegetation hanging in the cold, early morning air.... these natural phenomena combine with others, far less definable - if at all - swirling around in introspection, to arrive at the inescapable conclusion. Yeah, what a magical place this is! Worth delaying the Coco Pops an hour or so for.
6th July 2013ce
Edited 8th July 2013ce

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