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

Dun Toiseach



The shoreline of Loch Awe, one of The Highlands' largest, most wondrous inland lochs, is blessed with some fabulously sited monuments: the chocolate box Kilchurn Castle at the extreme north-east, the peerlessly located Port Sonachan chambered cairn, Innis Chonnell, Archdonnell chambered cairn etc... In my opinion, the small fortified enclosure of Dun Toiseach, overlooking the extreme southwestern extremity of the loch, is very much in the same class. Yeah, the map suggested this would be a good way to end the day and Dun Toiseach did not disappoint. Neither did the notoriously fickle Scottish weather, for that matter.

Visitors approaching from the wonders - ha, now there's an understatement - of Kilmartin Glen should take the minor road north from Ford and begin to skirt the 'far' bank of Loch Awe. In short order, Dun Toiseach will be seen crowning a rocky knoll rising above the small hamlet of Torran. It is by no means an extensive fortress, Canmore describing the site as:

'a severely ruined dun measuring about 16m by 13m within a wall which has been some 4m thick. (Campbell and Sandeman 1964)'.

By all accounts the entrance was to the north-east of the D-plan enclosure. To be honest I reckon the 'severely ruined' status is, relatively speaking, a little unfair. I've seen a lot worse and enough remains to leave the visitor in no doubt that this would have been a tough little nut to crack for any raiding party. Worth the effort for the archaeology alone, perhaps? If not, just come for the views and that sense of being 'somewhere else', if you know what I mean?
29th June 2019ce
Edited 29th June 2019ce

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