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Fieldnotes by drewbhoy

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Dun Grogary (Stone Fort / Dun)

Dun Grogary appears to be on a promontory but it is a case of landfill being put in and around the causeway, traces of which can still be seen heading west to higher ground.

The site is 13m wide and 1.5m tall, the surrounding wall having fallen. Be sure if visiting this site you take appropriate footwear as the approach is extremely boggy.

From Dun Scarie follow the road as it briefly nears the coast and head back east. I parked at the stream at the north west of Loch Grogary.

Lovely site but boggy approach.

Visited 24/7/2019.

Dun Scarie (Stone Fort / Dun)

The Iron Age people built a dun on the island in Loch Sgaraigh and later people used the site to build three further buildings.

Sadly not much else remains on the turf covered site except the causeway heading to the west, mostly submerged.

After Balranald on the A865, head north and take the first minor road heading west (this leads to a camp site). Loch Scaraigh is the first loch to the south, a track just beyond the loch on the minor road leads straight to the site.

Visited 24/7/2019.

Craig Hasten (Natural Rock Feature)

Up very early to start another day and a welcome visitor, the sun was shining :-)

Craig Hasten supposedly has a standing stone. I looked everywhere on the rocky crag but couldn't find anything, stones that looked fallen appeared, to me, to be bedrock. On the verge of giving up I decided to have a look over to the Atlantic on the crags North West side and came across which I assume is a natural feature.

It would be hard not to imagine this as a meeting place in ancient times, indeed it seems like the crag should have had a dun/fort/broch built on top as it is a superb defensive location. So I think the locals of the time must have treated this stone and area with some reverence. Local legend has this as the house of the fairies. Easy to imagine why, great views.

At Bayhead on the A865, near the petrol station, take the road heading past the school, take the first road heading west and keep going until the first sharp corner at the farm. Plenty room for parking.

Nice to see the stone but it almost defies belief that this area wasn't used for anything else.

Visited 24/7/2019.

Dun Na Carnaich (Chambered Tomb)

A few metres from the standing stone is the ruinous chamber cairn, Dun Na Carnaich. Someone appears to have dug a hole straight through the middle of the site for quarrying and to add to the damage a fence has been plonked along its south edge. All along with the usual recycling of stones.

How anything survives is almost a miracle, it is almost 20m wide and at its tallest 2m. Two stones stand as an entrance and two remain upright belonging to the chamber, with several stones to making up the chambers sides.

Still one thing they didn't take away is the view and the channel to the Atlantic presumably the reason the structure was built.

Visited 23/7/2019.

Clach Mhor A'che (Standing Stone / Menhir)

We headed south west on the Committee Road (Solas) back to the A865, heading south east. Take the fourth farm track heading south west. Permission was given to us to park at the farm buildings.

You can see the stone from the buildings, just a couple of gates, fences and a burn to jump before reaching the site.

A truly tremendous stone standing at 2.5m. Its location must, in my opinion, have something to do with the seaway to the Atlantic and the natural harbour next the Clach Mhor A'che headland.

Luckily no battles or people 'hanging' today so a good look at the nearby chamber should be safe enough.

Visited 23/7/2019.

Beinn A' Charra (North Uist) (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Plodding on from Airidhan An T-sruthain Ghairbh we headed west and uphill in the rain with fairly decent underfoot conditions. At the top there is a fence which we jumped over to head south west.

Walking along the flat top of the hill is a bit of a nightmare with the peat cutting leaving puddles of various depth. Luckily we found a way through without incident. Climb another fence and the standing stone, Beinn A Charra is in front. This stone was one the sites I wanted see and it lived up to expectation.

Beinn a Charra looks down on the Committee Road, which runs from Claddach to Solas, and the peat cutting workers on the other side of the road. It stands at 2.7m and leans at a jaunty angle to the south east. Stunning all round views were made even better as the rain eased. Veins of quartz can be seen on the western part of the stone.

Luckily we clambered, west, back down to the road on grass and walked back up to car park on the dead straight road.

Visited 23/7/2019.

Airidhan An T-sruthain Ghairbh (Chambered Cairn)

Airidhan An T-sruthain Ghairbh means 'properties of the coarse stream'.

We headed for the summit of Guala na h-Imrich wading through bogs, peat cuttings and heather. Once at the top it started to rain. From the top the cairn looks a lonely place, with a the rain a desolate place as well. Still its's always worth it when you get there so on we plodded.

There appears to a ring of stones on edge or fallen surrounding site which 22m wide. Two massive stones are probably capstones. Sadly some stones have been drilled.

On a sunny this would be a beautiful place, on a cloudy rainy early evening it is still a beautiful place with an atmosphere of complete calm and silence.

Visited 23/7/2019.

Striachclete (Chambered Cairn)

The minor road to the east of Dun Skellor at Solas heads south is a great mile and time saver. More importantly it has a wee car park about near the small wood to the east. Easy to spot as its the only trees on this road.

From the car park walk north east through a boggy terrain made worse by old peat digs. Recent rains have made conditions very wet.

The cairn is 10m wide and 2m high, and has shieling huts nearby including one built on top. Several prone stones suggest an entrance, some stones near the edge of the mound are suggestive of a kerb.

However the site is hard to define, but it is in the perfect place with great views up and down the valley.

Time for a climb over a hill.

Visited 23/7/2019.

Dun Skellor (Stone Fort / Dun)

From Angus's place, Dun Aonghais, head west along the A865 until the farm of the same name. I asked permission to park.

The dun or perhaps broch, suggested by Beveridge is situated behind the farmhouse. He said :

"On its east edge, for a continuous length of three yards, the exterior face of a massive curved wall (suggesting that of a broch) is disclosed in at least three courses of large stones not far from the present summit. Outside this, and at another broken part, were found some kitchen-midden remains, including pottery, with many bones and shells. In the north-west face, at about the same level as the portion of wall on the east, were also noticed three consecutive stones, apparently in original position. … this fort would seem to have a diameter of 50 to 60ft …."

All that is left now is a large grassy mound, 23m wide / 2m high, with hints of a wall poking through. There is a fair chance that evidence for the broch was carted away during the mid 19th century to built dry steen dykes and farm buildings.

Still a nice site to visit and a very nice conversation with the farm owner.

Visited 23/7/2019.

Dun Aonais (Stone Fort / Dun)

North Uist is certainly the place to visit if duns are your favoured type of site - they are everywhere.

Getting back to the A865, from Loch An Caiginn, head west until you reach Ahmore, I pulled in at the entrance to a cottage on the loch's west side.

To get a couple of angles I walked back along the main road and on to the banks of Loch Aonghais, 'fort of Aonghus Fionn'.

The dun is 31m wide and surrounded by a wall very close to the island's edge. There is a causeway to the east and a wee harbour on the west. Crogearraidh Mor makes a fine backdrop.

Visited 23/7/2019.

Loch Na Caiginn (Stone Fort / Dun)

The dun at Loch Na Caiginn, Loch of the Island, is a short distance south from the remarkable dun at Dun Nighean Righ Lochlainn. It also is a wonderful site, connected to the shore by a superb causeway.

Fallen walls surround the island which as well as Iron Age occupation has seen the Medieval peoples built a farm.

Beautiful site, beautiful scenery and mercifully it remained dry.

(more superb aerial photos on the Canmore link)

Visited 23/7/2019.

Dun Nighean Righ Lochlainn (Stone Fort / Dun)

The Beatles wrote 'The Long And Winding Road' and this song would certainly apply to the road that leads to Dun Nighean Righ Lochlainn (to the daughter of the King of Norway). Who knows if the princess lived here but it certainly is a beautiful place.

After a good nights rest from the previous days drenching we decided to take things a bit easier, that idea was changed later. From Lochmaddy take the A865 north at its junction with the A867 and then the first minor road heading east, after this follow The Beatles instructions. As per usual I had to get to the end of this road (plus the other two road ends) before heading back to find the duns.

There is a cattle grid at Loch an t-Sagairt which is near a quarry and some cattle pens, plenty room to park.

We clambered over the wee hill, east, at the quarry and headed north on the surprisingly dry heather, more surprisingly there was no rain and it was warm.

Divers found that the island or Atlantic roundhouse is almost completely artificial, the base being made from large slabs. The causeway remains, see pictures of the old guys in the link, to the north. The dun is almost 9m wide with its outside well built walls still surviving, they are just over 1.5m tall. Iron Age pottery was also discovered around the site.

Beautiful place, worthy of the princess.

Visited 23/7/2019.

Loch Glen Na Feannag (Chambered Cairn)

The walk from Oban Nam Faidh to the chamber cairn at Loch Glen Na Feannag may appear short but as well as the marsh we took a detour to NF 8382 6275 ( and found nothing except the mound, sadly no sign of the stone.

Crossing the marsh first time proved lucky despite a couple of deep adventures, this time my luck ran out. Trying to stride a wee ditch I slipped down, the waterproofs rolled up and the wellingtons filled. As usual the smell from a disturbed bog was pretty hellish. Luckily A along with B didn't fall anywhere. Eventually we made it to Glen Na Feannag via the detour.

Like Oban Nam Fiadh this must have been an impressive site, it still is. Luckily there were hardly any ferns on this occasion. Several large slabs make up the chamber and several more lying at the cairns edge must be displaced capstones or lintels. As usual the sheiling hut builders have had a busy time.

After a good look round we spied a bridge in the distance to the north which we assumed correctly would be the road. We thought we'd have to trudge over the hill, by this time conditions were probably best described as nightmarish as the rain became heavier and the wind stronger. However, head northish skirting the two small lochs, follow the peat cutting until the road becomes visible. In what proved to be a complete fluke we headed west, turned the corner and found the car.

Chancy but good fun, but not at the time.

Visited 22/7/2019.

Oban Nam Fiadh (Chambered Cairn)

From the shore of Loch Carabhat near Dun Scor we headed the short journey north to the chamber cairn at Oban Nam Faidh in wind and driving rain. Fortunately the ground here is all heather so no marshy stuff to walk on.

Vegetation in the form of ferns might cover this site but there was more than enough left for this site to remain impressive. It is almost 20m wide / 2m tall and like most of its neighbours has been robbed to make various huts and wind breaks. Six stones still stand of the chamber but the capstones have fallen to the side. Some stones remain of what might be a inner and outer kerb.

The big problem here was taking photographs, it was lashing down, hopefully what I've put up gives some idea of the site.

Visited 22/7/2019.

Dun Scor (Stone Fort / Dun)

Just as we left the Craonaval the weather changed from drizzle to downpour but we decided to trudge on. Underfoot conditions despite the recent weather were pretty good as we proceeded in a hopeful straight line to Dun Scor. That plan came to an end as we stumbled down the east side of the hill to meet the marsh that seperated us from Loch Carabhat and the Oban Nam Fiadh Chamber Cairn.

The marsh is comes complete with ditches and hidden burns as well, a couple of times I was waist deep but the water proofs held, this isn't a place for a solo venture. After what seemed a long time we eventually made it to higher/drier ground which led to the edge of the loch and a reasonably good view of the dun.

Walls can clearly be seen round the island, going by aerial photography there is a causeway but the weather conditions meant I wasn't going to go for a closer look. The causeway is S shaped which would have given the unsuspecting visitor a bit of a soaking.

Now for the nearby chamber cairn.

Visited 22/7/2019.

Craonaval (Chambered Cairn)

We headed east across the spongy heather in heavy drizzle to the Clyde styled chamber cairn. Vegetation has overgrown most of the cairn but the chambers are just about visible.

The most clear part of the site is the cist which is 11m from the chamber, sadly quite near a fence.

This must have been another fantastic site back in the day, but like a lot of places has seen a lot of damage.

Visited 22/7/2019.

Craonaval North (Chambered Cairn)

NF 83333 62913 Craonaval South

We parked at the quarry on the B894 just beyond, east, the track that leads to first of the cairns, Craonaval South. Conditions had lessened to a heavy drizzle so we decided to have an attempt at finding as much sites in a large oval shape taking in the Oban chamber cairn.

The first cairn is at the top of the hill next to track, ho ho ho, and is 20m wide and 2.5m tall. It has taking a bit of a battering with stones being removed to make wind breaks and shieling huts. Some kerbs do remain.

Look towards the Atlantic and you will see Craonaval North.

NF 83229 62993 Craonaval North

An oval shaped chamber cairn 20m by 14m being 2m high. There are some fairly decent kerbs with hints of a passage leading to a chamber. Sadly, like its near neighbour, it has taking some amount of damage. A fair number of shieling huts have been built close by most likely using stones from the cairn.

Let the fun begin!

Visited 22/7/2019.

Loch Nan Struban (Stone Fort / Dun)

0.75 miles west and a walk on surprisingly non boggy ground is the dun, Loch Nan Struban. In the mist and rain it's easy to think every stone is a circle, I wasn't far wrong as there are lots of medieval enclosures in the area.

I approached from Cringraval, east, with the rain lashing down. The new water proofs getting a good testing.

The dun, or hut circle on an island, is surrounded by a fallen wall with a causeway heading south from site. I found the start of the causeway, but no crossing over today to the 11 meter wide island.

Very beautiful site, even on a stormy day.

Visited 22/7/2019.

Cringraval (Stone Circle)

Park at the war memorial just east of Clachan on the A867, Lochmaddy road. After drying out from the morning's adventures it was time to get drenched again. From the war memorial head north, there is a gate, up the hill and you'll walk straight to the site. Its chamber cairn namesake is to the east.

Peat cutting has exposed a lot of sites in the Uists and that is the case here as several stones have appeared due to this. It probably also means that several stones are still to be found as the peat cutting went through the middle of the circle. One thing I have noticed about some the circles in North Uist is that the stones do seem to be different lengths, and they are made up of slabs and long stones. Cringraval is no different, some of the slabs remain upright whilst the longer stones are fallen.

The views west and south are spectacular with the sound of the Atlantic clearly heard. Also coming in from the Atlantic was rain, loads of it!

Visited 22/7/2019.

Dun Fhearchair (Stone Fort / Dun)

Further along the B891 is another dun, this one in the loch bearing the same name.

I walked along the B891 until the first track heading south, still the rain wouldn't relent.

Walk past the house into some kind of scrapyard, go through this on to the shores of Lochan Dun Fhearchair. The dun is only 10m wide and all that remains is a small pile of stones.

Another once upon a time site, by now the rain was getting very heavy so a look at Balivanich and the purchase of yet more so called water proofs.

Visited 22/7/2019.
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Still doing the music, following that team and getting lost in the hills! (Some Simple Minds, Glasvegas, Athlete, George Harrison, Empire Of The Sun, Nazareth on the headphones, good boots and sticks, away I go!)

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