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Dun Ardtreck


<b>Dun Ardtreck</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Nearest Town:Uig (28km N)
OS Ref (GB):   NG335358 / Sheet: 32
Latitude:57° 20' 4.82" N
Longitude:   6° 25' 44.67" W

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Another essential site I missed last time around... and pictures in books do retrospectively mock my ignorance of these islands' treasures so. My advice - for what it's worth - is to rectify such errors as soon as possible. I reckon it's good for the soul, you know? Or at least mine. Now Glen Brittle campsite is a good base for travellers on a budget, or for those simply wishing to maximise intimate contact with this wondrous Isle... if only for the jaw-dropping skyline of The Black Cuillin which greets those returning wearily at the end of a long Hebridean evening. Guess I (currently) fall into the latter category, so it's arguably a pretty big deal to admit to myself that the (dreaded) midge onslaught is so bad I might as well abandon the coast and seek an inland wild camp tonight. Macho, huh? So, what to do in the interim, then? A glance at the map reveals this to be no simple decision. Following a visit to Dun Ardtreck. That is a given in these parts.

The B8009 follows the western shore of Loch Harport, past Carbost and the Talisker distillery (of interest to some, I'd imagine) before terminating upon the pier beyond Portalong. Now unless you're Roger Moore driving that Lotus (with Barbara Bach in the passenger seat... ahem... I say) it is advisable to turn left before Portalong and in short order take the minor road signposted 'Ardtreck Point'. I followed the road around to its left hand extremity and parked beside the 'Tin Shack', a red-roofed timber building (as you would no doubt surmise... had me in stitches, that 'un). Walk back down the road and take a signposted (incidentally in gloriously DIY typeface), gated track to the left toward a white cottage. The locals will continue to direct you, by proxy, to their pride and joy set upon the western flank of Ardtreck Point.

In many respects the broch, semi-broch, dun... or whatever the correct term for these bespoke ancient castles is... is incidental to the immense coastal view across to Macleod's Tables that confronts the gobsmacked visitor this morning. In my opinion the Mediterranean has nothing on the western coast of Scotland. Having said that, the archaeology is nevertheless pretty special, too, a D-shaped enclosure set upon a rocky knoll, further protected by a perimeter wall, entrance to the south-east. The western flank, falling sheer to the impossibly blue water, clearly required little artificial defence. The 'arc' of the 'D', however, still retains a pretty substantial double-skinned dry stone rampart, which according to Canmore once rose to at least 16 feet [RCAHMS 1928; E W MacKie 1965; 1967; 1969; Curr Archaeol 1967]. The only sound is the aforementioned water engaged upon its timeless battle of attrition with the coastal rock... oh, and the occasional seabird.... noisy blighters. Yeah, forget nearby Talisker. For me Dun Ardtreck is Skye's premier 'distillery' .... everything I love about Skye's brutal, yet paradoxically incredibly beautiful, sublime coastline can be appreciated upon the shattered stonework of this ancient enclosure. Sure, it is easy to overlook, particularly upon a sunny late Spring morning, just how extreme the weather can be... but today I reckon there's little to be said that could be described as detrimental. Yeah, it is a drag to eventually leave... but a chambered cairn is indicated upon the map just across the water near Struanmore. Duty calls...
2nd July 2012ce
Edited 11th September 2012ce