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

Dun Diarmaid, Bracadale



Dun Diarmaid isn't going to win any popularity contests, that's for sure. Despite being hard-by the A863 as it (the A863, that is) makes its scenic progress along the eastern flank of the lovely Loch Beag, I'd wager you could probably count the number of annual punters who stop for a planned inspection on your fingers.

To be honest this is not surprising.... the site looks like any other loch-side rocky knoll from the tarmacadum, not particularly defensible. However these new fangled OS maps - mine is 1976 vintage - clearly provide insight beyond general perception. Yeah, praise be to maps and map makers. Let them and their kin inherit the earth, I say. However my personal insight is much more mundane than the landscape the wiggly contour lines upon faded paper - stained with baked bean residue (not forgetting the pork sausages) - represent. Much more... sitting upon the virtually destroyed Dun Garsin 'broch' in drizzly rain I notice the antiquarian script and think... 'well, whilst I'm here... might as well, I guess'. Not exactly Aristotle.

Easier done than said, for once, a layby affording easy parking a short way off and a minor scramble bringing the traveller to the top in little time. As I do so, however, the 'everyday' is suddenly a distant memory, the shattered, yet still recognisable ovoid walls of the broch - for 'tis 'probably' a broch (see below) - commanding a magnificent vista up and down the loch. Just as suddenly the mass of cumulo-nimbus looming overhead is whisked away, to be superseded by blue sky... the wind correspondingly dissipates to leave a becalmed loch mirroring the low hills rising beyond in its still waters. How can anything be so beautiful? It can't ... and doesn't ... last. But the moment is everything. Yeah, once again Skye provides its ancient monuments with that little bit 'extra'. Unfair, perhaps. But if you've got it, I say flaunt it.

The broch itself is, archaeologically speaking, nothing to raise a particular sweat over, although some original wall footings can still be discerned - a lot of the original stone work no doubt now residing in suspiciously nearby drystone enclosures lying below to the south-west. But natural beauty will always win my vote. Yeah, no artificial enhancements for my goddesses, thank you very much. Just come as you are.

Anyway, enough wittering... the technical bit according to Canmore:

'Dun Diarmaid is probably a broch. The outer and inner wall faces survive intermittently in the N, W, and S giving an internal diameter N-S of 8.0m with the wall 3.1m thick in the N and 3.5m in the S. In the E, the wall has incorporated outcrop rock and the outer part has completely disappeared though the inner face may be partly in situ under turf-covered debris. The entrance is in the W, but has tumbled and its footings are obscured by debris; here the wall is 3.6m thick. No intra-mural features are visible. OS (A A) 5 November 1971.'
3rd July 2012ce
Edited 3rd July 2012ce

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