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Torran a'Bharraich

Stone Fort / Dun

<b>Torran a'Bharraich</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Nearest Town:Kyle of Lochalsh (13km W)
OS Ref (GB):   NG88312296 / Sheet: 33
Latitude:57° 14' 53.8" N
Longitude:   5° 30' 33.76" W

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<b>Torran a'Bharraich</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Torran a'Bharraich</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Torran a'Bharraich</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Torran a'Bharraich</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Torran a'Bharraich</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Torran a'Bharraich</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Torran a'Bharraich</b>Posted by GLADMAN


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Dawn arrives at Mam Ratagan heralding a significant change in weather, assuming the cloud obscuring the summits of the 'Five Sisters' is not a passing anomaly. The assumption is correct, the placid surface of the southern end of Loch Duich, reflecting the ancient defensive remnants of Dunan Diarmid, all too soon disrupted by rising wind spilling down Glen Shiel, the vanguard of a storm front. I've spent the night at this wondrous (and strangely midge free) viewpoint with the intention of visiting a couple of the lesser known ancient fortified dwellings in the area before the drive to Kilmartin this afternoon. There are worse things to do.

At Shiel Bridge a minor road heads beyond the Youth Hostel at Ratagan along the western shore of Loch Duich to the north-west, passing the apparent location of a Class II henge at NG 93081868 (I didn't see anything in passing, but may well return some day, given the opportunity). A little way past Duich House a jetty extends into the loch to service a salmon fishery. Opposite (to the left) a path ascends the hillside beside a fenced storage yard toward a small, rocky knoll offering no hint of ancient fortifications, hardly surprising given the overwhelmingly vivid carpet of late blooming blue bells so abundant this final day of May. I manage to squeeze the car off the road beside some nearby stables, to the apparent bemusement of the equine occupant.... 'who are you, Sassenach?'.... and clamber up to find the shattered remains of a small dun set in a wonderful position overlooking the loch. 'Shattered' and 'small' are the adjectives to note here, although, to be fair, the footings of the curving wall defending the easiest approaches upon the north/west arc do suggest a pretty substantial work in its day.

As mentioned the siting is magnificent with a clear view up and down the loch. That to the north-west, looking toward Eilean Donan (the island featuring a restored castle that has no doubt graced a thousand biscuit tins, yet also possesses traces of a vitrified fort) is pretty good by any standards.... unfortunately, however, the visa to south-east is marred somewhat by the aforementioned salmon fishery and supporting infrastructure. But hey, this is a working landscape. So no complaints. And needless to say the misty, driving rain inevitably puts a literal dampener on proceedings, although nothing can detract from the sheer wonder of those blue bells. Yeah, visit on a fine day and you may well be blown away.

So, perhaps not quite the hang I was anticipating, but nevertheless it'd be rude not pop in on the way to the utterly wondrous Caisteal Grugaig.
21st July 2013ce
Edited 22nd July 2013ce