Situated on a steep rocky knoll, just back from the foreshore of the Tigh a'Mholain peninsula at the head of Loch Duich, and less than two kilometres north of Shiel Bridge, lie the scant remains of Dunan Diarmid. Access from the landward side is denied by fencing, so you have to appproach along the shoreline, the easiest ascent to the summit being via the grassy eastern slopes.
If ever a location was deserving of a dun, this is it, moreso the disappointment on reaching the top: there is almost nothing to be seen. The small summit area is covered by grasses and wild flowers, and the only remaining evidence of Dunan Diarmid is a saucer-shaped grassy hollow to the north, delineated by a grassy bank a mere 30 centimetres high and less than half a metre wide. I spotted one earthfast kerbstone set into the south of the bank, and it is more than likely that more underlie it throughout its circumference.
There is no doubt that this dun would have commanded an exceptionally fine view in all directions. The sadness is that there is so little remaining to enjoy.
Easily seen from the road as a large 'pudding shaped' rock outcrop at the end of Loch Duich.
Graet location for a Dun/Fort.
'Dunan Diarmid, the remains of a dun occupying the level summit of an isolated rocky knoll. Oval on plan, the dun measures 24.5m E-W by 16.0m N-S within a wall c. 2.5m thick, reduced to a stony scarp with a few stones of the outer face visible intermittently around the W half. A deep hollow at the modern S approach probably denotes the mutilated entrance. In the interior in the NE, is a modern enclosure, 6.0m E-W by 7.0m N-S within a wall 0.8m thick'
Well seen from the viewpoint at Mam Ratagan, this small stone fort appears not to have survived the passage of time too well (unfortunately I did not have time to check this out conclusively owing to the unexpected excellence of Caisteal Grugaig.... maybe next time, then). Nevertheless the landscape context is first class, the enclosure crowning a rocky promontory near the far eastern shore of Loch Duich, set beneath a towering mountainscape including 'The Five Sisters of Kintail'.
According to Canmore the dun is:
'... Oval on (sic) plan, the dun measures 24.5m E-W by 16.0m N-S within a wall c. 2.5m thick, reduced to a stony scarp with a few stones of the outer face visible intermittently around the W half. A deep hollow at the modern S approach probably denotes the mutilated entrance. In the interior in the NE, is a modern enclosure, 6.0m E-W by 7.0m N-S within a wall 0.8m thick. [OS (A A) 13 June 1974]'
Dunan Diarmid is one of a quartet of ancient defensive sites in the environs of Loch Duich.... the restored castle of Eilean Donan, to the west, apparently stands upon the remnants of a vitrified enclosure, whilst Torran a'Bharraich overlooks the southern flank. Arguably the finest is the broch of Caisteal Grugaig, near Totaig, complementing Eilean Donan guarding the confluence of Loch Duich with Lochs Long and Alsh.