MHG10047 - Carn Bran Broch, Creag Riabhach


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Type and Period (1)

  • BROCH (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Carn Bran, Glen Loth, NC91SW0002

Brochs are round, tower-like houses, their monumental size intended to display the wealth and status of the agricultural communities who lived in them. They were occupied in the later Iron Age and occur frequently in the north and west of Scotland. (41)

At first glance this broch is simply a huge pile of stones. On closer examination, the line of outer wall face and entrance passage, still partly roofed and with a cell on either side, is visible. A scarcement, on which an upper wooden floor would have rested, can also be traced intermittently.

The scale of this broch is reinforced by its position in one of the narrowest parts of Glen Loth. The approach to the broch, along the narrow strip of flat land above the river, could have been easily controlled and this is likely to have been important to its occupants.
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.

Gourlay, R., 1996. Sutherland. An Archaeological Guide. Edinburgh: Birlinn.

RCAHMS. 1911. Sutherland. Edinburgh: HMSO, 161-2, No. 468.

Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

NC91SW 2 9420 1220.

(NC 9420 1220) Carn Bran (NAT) Broch (NR)

Carn Bran. The broch is a mass of debris about 12 feet high. The diameter overall is about 55 feet, the thickness of the wall about 12 feet, and the interior diameter from 31 to 32 feet. Though only the top of the wall is visible here and there, beneath the ruins it may stand for a considerable height. On the SE 18 feet distant from the broch, are the remains of an outer wall, about 8 feet in thickness. It probably encircled the broch, except along the river bank, but on the north and NW it is no longer visible.
T Pennant 1774; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

Carn Bran (name verified). This broch has altered little since the RCAHMS visited the site in 1909. The outer face is visible intermittently through the tumble giving an overall diameter of about 17.0m, but the inner face is obscured. The entrance with door checks is in the SW; it is part-roofed though choked with debris. Two mural cells, one apparently leading off to a stair, are exposed, and there are traces of a possible scarcement around the south arc.
There is an outwork consisting of a tumbled outer wall to the north of the broch, and two curving walls to the south; the inner is better-preserved with a sub-oval enclosure abutting it. There is no trace of a connecting wall or bank around the east side of the broch. There are the indeterminate remains of structures outside the entrance and along the west side, but river erosion has destroyed the pattern of these.
Revised at 1/10,000.
Visited by OS (E G C) 5 June 1961 and (J M) 7 May 1976.

Broch, Glen Loth '66, general view (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10086.

Broch, Glen Loth '66, Revetment (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG10080.

Carn Bran (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14668.

Lower Sleatdale, Sheepfank (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG16594.

Lower Sleatdale. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13449.

Lower Sleatdale. (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13630.

Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG3657.

Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG3658.

Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG3659.

Pennant, T, 1774, A tour in Scotland; MDCCLXIX, 356 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2618.

RCAHMS, 1911, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Second report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Sutherland, 161-2, No. 468 (Text/Report). SHG2657.

Sources/Archives (11)



Grid reference Centred NC 9421 1220 (23m by 24m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NC91SW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish LOTH

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