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

Dun Telve



When, on my first visit to Glenelg, I arrived at the first of the two brochs, that of Dun Telve, the larger, which stands in a field on the right, entered by a white gate, I found a mason at work on the initial stages of restoration.

The details of the work so successfully carried out are not only intensely interesting, but they afford so admirable an example of true restoration as opposed to ruinous rebuilding operations miscalled "restoration," that i give them as kindly detailed to me by the young architect to whose art, approaching genius, and ingenuity the broch's preservation is due.

He found that the ends of the broch had been pinned up in cement, and promptly cut away this obscuration and negation of the distinctive feature of drystone buildings. In such danger of falling was this broch that it had been shored up with heavy timbers, and, after careful examination and prolonged consideration, it was resolved to consolidate the building by grouting in cement that part which was in the greatest danger of collapse.

But in order that there might appear no trace of the use of cement, the joints of the section to be grouted were previously carefully packed with clay. Thus, when the cement was poured in at certain points, it found no outlet, and when the clay was thereafter washed away, there was no outward indication anywhere visible of the extremely clever and most artistic method of restoration adopted. Then, when the shoring could be safely removed, the broch was excavated; and, besides foundations of some out-buildings being brought to light, several stone cups and whorls were discovered.

Several years after, on returning to Glenelg, I saw this perfect restoration completed, as well as that of the second broch, untouched when I had previously seen it; and whenever I think of these fascinating works of art, the delight which I experienced in hovering about them at once returns to me.
From Wanderings in the Western Highlands and Islands by Mary Donaldson (1923). There's a plan of the broch on this page. She also includes a photo of herself here - she was a photographer and built a box with removable wheels (the Green Maria!) to carry all her equipment, change of clothes, picnicking provisions and waterproofs: covered in green canvas so she could stash it invisibly in the undergrowth. I might like one myself. She sounds pretty cool.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th August 2013ce

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