MHG11156 - Caisteal na Coille


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Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

Cailsteal na Coille (NAT) Broch (NR)
OS 6"map, (1969)

The remains of a small broch, Caisteal na Coille (RCAHMS 1911; ONB 1872) or Castle Cole (RCAHMS 1911; Feachem 1963) situated in a strong position on a rocky eminence on the left bank of the Black Water, and further defended by outworks. It measures 21' in diameter within a wall 13' thick with an entrance, 2' 8" to 3' 6" wide, in the ESE. Mural chambers were identifiable in the NE and south in 1909, but in neither case was an entrance visible. A guard-chamber was also visible to the north of the entrance passage leading off between two sets of door-checks. The broch wall stood to a maximum height of 10', on the east, but only the foundation remained in the SW. Feachem mentions at least seven aumbry-like recesses, comparable with those at Torwood broch (NS88SW 1). An outwork wall defends the broch on the north and east of the summit and RCAHMS mention a similar outer wall, running for part of its length along the top of a rocky outcrop on the east with small portions being visible on the north and SE.
Name Book 1872; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909; R W Feachem 1963.

The broch is generally as described, still well enough preserved for details to be discernible, eg the guard chamber, now completely exposed from the top; traces of the outer wall of a mural gallery in the NE; the passage still lintelled to the first doorcheck, beyond which it is choked with debris; and the aumbry-like recesses, still visible at various heights in the wall. Six of them in the north half, average 0.3m to 0.5m across by 0.2m in height and depth. The seventh would appear to be at ground level in the SSE and substantially larger. There is no sign of the south mural chamber noted by RCAHMS. The wall encircling the summit appears to be a contemporary outwork, though a part abutting the broch on the NE has been renovated. The crude outer wall may be much later, possibly built to keep livestock from the sheer face of the eminence on which the broch stands.
Revised at 1:10,000.
Visited by OS (R D L) 23 April 1964 and (J M) 20 February 1976.

This site was included in Mackie's 2007 'The Roundhouses, Brochs and Wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c.700 BC - AD 500: Architecture and material culture'. See link below to HES Canmore record which includes the chapter on this site. <1>

The site is included in the Altas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below to site entry. <2>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NC 7957 1337 (70m by 70m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC71SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish CLYNE

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