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




Visited: June 8, 2017

Carrol is a relatively remote, seldom visited broch, located in a large forest clearing at an altitude of about 100 metres, about half a kilometre west of Loch Brora in Sutherland.

At first sight, the broch appears as just a huge stoneheap but there's a real treat in store once you climb up and view the interior. The broch was excavated by the Duke of Sutherland during the 1870s, and its external walling was completely buried by the material removed from the interior, which now stands almost 4 metres tall around the entire structure. To say this is impressive is an understatement: the interior of Carrol broch is little short of overwhelming!

There is an entrance passsage on the east-southeast but this is sufficiently blocked at its inner end to deny the visitor access. Nevertheless, walking round the ramparts—effectively the broch's second level—is quite an experience (just a pity the centre of the broch is inhabited by dense bushes these days).

Three features in particular stand out. On the west, a long staircase of at least a dozen steps, thickly encrusted by moss and lichen, but still recognisable, leads down into the wall gallery to the lower level. At the foot of the stair, is a door-frame faced with massive stone slabs which would have originally led from the gallery into the interior. Then, immediately after comes a long stretch of gallery leading all the way round to the entrance. At the time of excavation half this gallery was still roofed over but now most of it has lost its lintels and is open to the air.

How to get there
The broch stands just 50 metres north of a prominent stream (Allt Coire Aghaisgeig) which flows down into Loch Brora, and this provides the easiest way to locate it as it is not visible from below. Be advised that this visit is not quite a 'stroll in the park'. Stout walking shoes or boots are essential, specially if you lose your way in the forest!

After following the road signposted Doll (to the south of the River Brora from the A9) for 2½ kilometres, there are a few parking spaces at the road's end, beside the footbridge over the river (orange marker at foot of map). Backtrack about 50 metres then follow the estate road through the forest for a pleasant walk before emerging from the trees after about one kilometre. From here, continue along the road for another two kilometres to the point where it crosses the Allt Coire Aghaisgeig.

Now is the most important bit because the broch lies in woodland behind a tall deer fence. Do not cross the stream, but make directly for the fence just before the stream (150 metres over heather) where you will find a tall stile (blue marker). Once over the stile, cross the stream and head exactly south-west to Carrol broch, through woodland now consisting of fairly scattered birch trees. Another 450 metres and you're there (red marker). Alternatively, follow the stream uphill, as it passes just 50 metres from the broch.

You may also be interested in visiting Backies Broch, similarly well preserved, just a short distance north of Golspie.

There is a lot of information about Carrol broch on the Canmore website.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
10th June 2017ce
Edited 9th September 2019ce

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