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

Crammag Head

Stone Fort / Dun


I parked opposite the two houses by the entrance to Slochmill Farm, and then made my way to the start of the footpath leading to Crammag Head, as indicated on OS 82. This turned out to be accessed by slipping round the end of an out of kilter iron field gate. Thence the track leads eastward to a rather overengineered bridge crossing the Mulrea Burn composed of two heavy duty concrete slabs, and then becomes undefined thereafter, but follows the course of the burn. This part of the walk was an absolute pleasure, listening to the burbling water, with iris and primroses along its banks, which must be beautiful sight in bloom. I had not done any research of the site beforehand, and had, based on such information I could glean from the map, thought that the dun was on top of the large gorsey outcrop that was ahead of me. It certainly looked a good place for a defensive position, so I headed off the illdefined path towards it. At that point I saw a dogwalker who, when I called over to her for confirmation, pointed me not to the outcrop but over the brow alongside it. As I crested it the top of the lighthouse at the Head came into view. There was still no sign of the dun, but what grabbed my eye was nearer. I had never seen one before, but, having an interest in walling, knew what it was immediately: a turf covered Galloway dyke. Like Cornish hedges and the field boundaries of West Pembrokeshire these can be thousands of years old. It curved round in a crescent from cliff edge to cliff edge, and had what was either a ditch or depression caused by centuries of stock erosion. I could not tell which, but was sure that it's structure and form alone merited mention in TMA as an archaeological feature. Dykes, sacred springs and holloways do, to me, deserve equal note as other archaeological features. There are other things apart from stones, forts and cairns. I was very intrigued and took several shots. Still no dun though. I carried on walking over the verdant and bumpy grass towards the lighthouse. Where was it? Through the gate to the light. There was a cresent shaped degraded rampart encircling the outcrop the light was built on, obviously ancient. Some of its structure was exposed by stock erosion. I photographed away, but was aware that it was not what I had come to see. Where on earth was it? The puzzlement increased. I approached the stubby light on its concrete plinth.....and then became both aghast and incredulous. There, at the western side of the plinth, was a curved foundation structure of large stone blocks. The lighthouse had been built on top of the dun. I expored what remained, then descended some steps to a structure that may once have housed a foghorn. Turning to look southward along the cliffs is an experience I shall not forget. I knew that there was a fort on top of neighbouring Dunman, and had intended to go there. What is in no way possible to glean from the map is just how stunning the sight is that awaits you. I know of no finer setting for a cliff fort than Dunman's. The ramparts are on the skyline, and its westward edge is a drop over four hundred feet to the sea. My superlatives are inadequate. I stood looking for a while, trying to take images that did it justice, then retraced my steps to the gate. A clifftop sheeptrack towards Dunman beckoned. I went some way along, enough to make me pretty sure it went all the way there. My leg injury from broching dictated otherwise. 2016. Please. Back to the gate. Near it was an abandoned two storey lookout station. I climbed up its steps to its viewing platform. How I would love to buy it for a few grand and bodge it into habitability... what a view to Dunman and the light. Dreams... I then descended the steps and decided to do some fieldwalking inland, prompted by finding the dyke and that still intriguing gorsey outcrop. What I found deserves separate mention, suffice to say that a walk across Slockmill's farmland to Crammag Head's dun is a walk through history. Even if there was no archaeology there whatsoever it is still necessary for that view and probable access to Dunman's fort. But there is.... See separate site entries for Slochmill enclosure, stones and hillfort. Canmore ID 60437. Date of visit 3rd October 2015. spencer Posted by spencer
23rd November 2015ce
Edited 30th November 2015ce

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