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

Carn Bran



Although little more than a mile along the minor road traversing Glen Loth (if heading from the A9, that is) the shattered remains of this broch occupy a position in the landscape seemingly several light years away from the tourist trail when it comes to vibe. What an superb location! Although, to be fair, it's difficult to visualise a big, hairy Iron Age warrior chieftain standing here, spear, battleaxe - or whatever- in hand and exclaiming "Such is the exquisite beauty of this landscape, sweeping contours of sublime precision echoing the pulsating life-affirming natural forces inherent within the fast flowing water.... that I am compelled, by the mighty Odin (in an admittedly uncharacteristic moment of all consuming altruistic euphoria), to erect a great big bloody dry stone defensive tower here to consolidate my power and vanquish my enemies. At this very spot". Then again ....

For all the idyllic splendour there is, however, a catch which potential visitors should be aware of. Namely, as Nick points out, that the broch stands upon the opposite bank of the Loth Burn from the road. Ah... Luckily I was able to make my way across the lively water without having to remove the boots, thanks to several strategically placed rocks breaking the surface at opportune points. I can well imagine occasions when this will not be the case.

As mentioned at the start, Carn Bran is, on the surface, a tumbled mass of collapsed stonework far removed from the likes of the nearby Cinn Trolla. Nevertheless a few courses of walling can still be discerned within the chaos, together with the positions of a (couple?) of intra-mural chambers confirming that this is indeed a broch and not, as the name might imply, a cairn. I wouldn't have minded the latter at all, to be fair. But then again finding a broch located in such a classic position overlooking a far from placid burn is pretty special.

I sit drinking my coffee, gazing along the glen and wonder how much of the original structure still remains in situ, subsumed within the stone pile? Yeah, on balance, despite the captivating ethereal atmosphere here, I reckon it would be a very worthwhile exercise to excavate Carn Bran and perhaps reveal its former archaeological glory.
20th January 2015ce
Edited 21st January 2015ce

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