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Dun Carloway

Broch

<b>Dun Carloway</b>Posted by MartinImage © Martin
Nearest Town:Stornoway (25km E)
OS Ref (GB):   NB189412 / Sheets: 8, 13
Latitude:58° 16' 10.18" N
Longitude:   6° 47' 40.68" W

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Fieldnotes

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Visited 31.5.12

Signposted from the main A858.

Sophie was asleep so Karen stayed in the car while myself and Dafydd walked up to the visitor centre. I was surprised that there were no staff present and guides could be purchased by writing you name on a sheet of paper and putting the money in an honesty box! Isn’t it nice that there are still places where this type of trust works?

In the visitor centre there is a self guided walk with various reconstructions to give you an idea of how Dun Carloway would have looked when inhabited.

We then walked along the path towards the broch. Dafydd was ‘on form’ and didn’t stop asking questions – all the way there and all the way back!

The broch is the best preserved in the Western Isles and affords wonderful views.
You can walk part way up the inner staircase.

Definitely worth a visit when in this remote part of the world.
Posted by CARL
4th July 2012ce

Bloody hell, it was windy! We nearly got blown off the hill when we reached the Broch and Mark gave me one of 'those' looks which I took to mean, "never again will I follow you up a hill in a force 8 gale". Oh well.

Easy to find, with a brown tourist sign pointing you in the right direction. The visitor centre is closed in winter though, although the toilets remain open all year round (very obliging folk, the Hebrideans)

This was my first broch and to say it is impressive is an understatement. When I visited Newgrange I was blown away by the corbelled ceiling and here I was equally amazed at the skill and ingenuity of the people who built this. Incredible.
Vicster Posted by Vicster
8th November 2006ce
Edited 10th November 2006ce

Dun Carloway is the most impressive broch in the Western isles and next to Mousa Broch in Shetland probably the most impressive in Britain. It was here that we stopped off first.

I love brochs they're great, you can fight your way through wind and rain to get to them and when you finally get inside you can fell sheltered and safe. Most brochs originate from the Iron Age and were fortified farmsteads. Brochs could house people and animals inside and keep stores for weeks maybe even months. Dun Carloway dates from the 1st century BC and is situated on top of a hillock overlooking its manor. A wonderful place
notjamesbond Posted by notjamesbond
1st July 2003ce
Edited 1st June 2004ce

Dun Carloway Broch
23/7/94
A spectacular setting! This broch is perched high above Loch an Duin with views over to the sea to Bernera. One of the best preserved brochs in the Western Isles the back wall stills stands about 10 m high with a wall almost 4 m thick! There's a guard cell by the door and there's some neat steps up inside the wall from this cell. An inspiring view and great place to stop on the road to Callanish.
Posted by Martin
19th December 2001ce

Folklore

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Here's some folklorey information scattered through an article called 'On the Duns of the Outer Hebrides' by, curiously, 'the late Captain F W L Thomas', in Archaeologica Scotica volume 5 (1890).
Dun Charlobhaidh (pronounced Doon Karlovay), Uig, Lewis."

... In Lewis they have a tradition that when these towers were being built a row of men reached from the dun to the shore, from whence the stones were passed from hand to hand; and that the towers being conical, they were built to such a height that only a single stone or flag was required to close the top.

... Donald Cam Macaulay and a famous blacksmith called the Gow Ban (Gobha Ban = Fair Smith) went to the Flannan Isles in summer; when the Morrisons of Ness, hearing they were away, came and seized all their cows that were on the Uig moor. None dare offer resistance to the Morrisons, but on the return of the Macaulays their wives met them on the beach to tell them of the foray. The Macaulays at once crossed Loch Roag in pursuit, and on nearing Dun Carloway they saw their cattle grazing there, and guessed from that the Morrisons were in the castle. The Macaulays rested that night on a hill close by, and early next morning Donald Cam and the Smith went out to reconnoitre.

Not far from the dun was a fire, over which rested a large kettle, wherein was a whole carcase of one of the cows plundered by the Morrisons; and the cook was asleep near it. Donald Cam told the Smith to hold the man till he took the meat out of the kettle, which he did. As soon as the beef was out of the kettle the Smith threw the cook into it. The beef was put into the Smith's plaid, and carried to the Macaulays for their breakfast.

Donald Cam then stalks the sentry at the door of the dun and kills him. The Smith is directed to prevent escape by the door, while Donal Cam climbs up the walls by means of two dirks or daggers, using them as steps, changing them by turns until he got to the top of the uncouth edifice. This dun, upon a superstructure at the top, is closed by a large flag(?). When Donald Cam got to the top he told his men to pull heather and make it into large bundles; these he threw into the area of the dun, and, calling for fire, he sets light to the heather, and smothers and burns all the inmates.

Donald Cam then demolished Dun Carloway; - that old fabric, built in the fourth century by a giant, called Dearg Mac Nuaran. There are two similar duns in the parish of Uig, built and inhabited by two brothers of Dearg, named Kuoch Mac Nuaran and Tidd Mac Nuaran.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st February 2010ce

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Some more info such as this Broch being reused in the 16th C
Posted by Martin
19th December 2001ce