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


Torr a Chaistell

Stone Fort / Dun

Nearest Town:Campbeltown (20km WSW)
OS Ref (GB):   NR922232 / Sheets: 68, 69
Latitude:55° 27' 29.87" N
Longitude:   5° 17' 13.19" W

Added by Rhiannon

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Visited 27.7.15

The site is signposted on the A841, four miles north of Blackwaterfoot. Parking is tricky but there is just about room to squeeze onto the verge near the house.

The others stayed in the car out of the persistent rain whilst I walked through the garden of the house and through a wooden gate. This led into a field of wheat. I walked down the side of the field and came to a barbed wire fence and rusty gate.

Into the next field of curious cows who immediately came charging over to me. This could be disconcerting for a lot of people but I had been in this position many times before and knew that they would stop just before me (at least I hoped they would!) This they did and with much mooing they followed me to the end of the field. From this point the ground became little more than bog (where have you heard that before?!) I sank ankle deep in cow pat splattered slime and mud. I wish I had brought my wellies on holiday this year!

Despite being an Historic Scotland site there were none of the usual black and white posts to guide you. Just keep heading down hill towards the sea and you will see it.

There is an Historic Scotland information board which seemed out of character given how un-visitor friendly it was to get here. Although only a 15 minute walk, H.S. could make this far easier for visitors. Your average day-tripper would have no chance of getting here. I am surprised these are the first TMA field notes though.

The fort consists of a large, flat topped grass mound. It looked very much like a Norman motte. The site dominated the surrounding countryside and would have been very visible to anyone passing by sea.

That's another H.S. site ticked off the list. Now, for that yucky walk/squelch back to the car.
Posted by CARL
28th July 2015ce


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The next fort we meet in our ramble is that of Tor-Castle - Castle Hill - a little to the north of Slaodridh [..]

It is said that a battle was fought long ago around the Tor-Castle, between the natives of Arran and a band of marauders from Kintyre. The Arran men were encouraged to victory by the cheers of their wives and children, who crowded the Clappen Hill to witness the conflict. After a desperate struggle the invaders were repulsed, and forced to seek safety in their ships.

Tor-Castle is further remarkable for the existence of ancient plough-marks, popularly known as elf-furrows, which are clearly traceable over it summit. Tradition relates that the rich black mould of the mound tempted the natives to reduce it to cultivation. This was many years ago, when the old rig system of farming obtained in the Island.

The lands of the neighbourhood were partitioned between twelve families, each of which claimed a rig of the Castle Hill. The mound was cleared of the rich verdure which mantled its surface, and drills of cabbages were planted within the ruined walls. But a signal retribution followed the commission of this daring sacrilege. Before the year closed, the children of the hamlet were fatherless, and eleven new graves were seen in the little church-yard of the district.

The villager who escaped had been called to another part of the Island when the old building was being turned into a household garden, and thereby avoided the doom which befell his companions. The people of Arran still regard the old fortlet with a superstitious dread, and he is thought to have a bold heart who will venture to disturb its ruins or visit them after nightfall.
p82 of 'The antiquities of Arran' by John McArthur (1861).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
20th August 2007ce