MHG11376 - Broch, Upper Suisgill


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Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

Upper Suisgill, NC82NE0012

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 later Iron Age and occur frequently in the north and west of Scotland. (41)

Unlike all the other brochs in Kildonan, which are on valley sides, overlooking an extensive area of ground, Suisgill is positioned on the valley floor at one of its narrower points. The broch stands right on the edge of a terrace, above a bend in the river. (48)

If approached from this direction, Suisgill is still very impressive, as a curved entrance way extends up the slope, passing through substantial heather covered mounds to the broch tower, itself. These mounds represent banks and ditches, which, since it was overlooked by higher ground, must have been necessary to increase the defensive nature of the broch. (56)


Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.

Gourlay, R., 1996. Sutherland. An Archaeological Guide. Edinburgh: Birlinn, 72.

RCAHMS. 1911. Sutherland. Edinburgh: HMSO, 105, No. 308.

RCAHMS, 1993. Strath of Kildonan. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: HMSO.

Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

(NC 88752530) Broch (NR) OS 6"map, (1962)

The remains of a broch with outworks situated on the summit of a mound some 30' above the river to which the site slopes steeply. Of the broch little remains, a considerable portion of the north wall having been removed about 1909, but surviving wall faces indicate that it has measured 40' in diameter within a wall 15' thick on N and 12' thick on S where the remains of a mural chamber are visible.
The outworks consist of a wall, with an external ditch on the east and west and a fragment of outer rampart on the SE. The wall maintains a distance of 18' from the broch except on the south where it is closer. The ditch, immediately outside the wall is 34' wide and 8' to 10' im maximum depth and the outer rampart, 12' broad at base runs at a distance of 28' from the ditch. The approach is through the defences on the south.
RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909

The site was Scheduled in 1938.

The broch is generally as described by the RCAHMS. A small modern gap in the north gives entrance to a later rough enclosure cleared out of the broch debris.
Revised at 1/10,000 Visited by OS (J B) 14 Janurary 1977

The robbed remains of this broch and its outworks occupy the E end of a low ridge which, on the S, falls steeply to the River Helmsdale.
Roughly circular on plan, it measures about 12m in diameter within the remains of a wall up to 4.5m in thickness; the N quadrant of the wall was removed before 1909 but, elsewhere, it stands to a maximum height of 1m with what is probably an entrance on the ESE there are traces of two intramural structures, one on the NNE, possibly part of a passage or chamber, and the second, on the S, may be the remains of a guard-cell opening off the W side of the entrance-passage. The court is choked with tumbled stone in which at least three huts have been created.
The broch is surrounded by an outer wall, measuring 1.5m in thickness and 0.6m in maximum height which, on W, N and E has been accompanied by a ditch, 9m broad and 2.5m deep. The entrance through outwork lies on ESE; here ditch was expanded in breadth and the wall extended around the ditch terminal. On E and S there are traces of a counterscarp bank, and on E a further short stretch of bank cuts across crest of the ridge.
Visited by RCAHMS (DCC) 4 June 1991.

The Scheduling was amended by Historic Environment Scotland in 2016. <1>

Broch, Suisgill, Strath of Kildonan (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG9611.

Suisgill (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13618.

Suisgill (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG13632.

Untitled Source (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4040.

Upper Suisgill (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14588.

Upper Suisgill (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14589.

Upper Suisgill (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14590.

Upper Suisgill (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14591.

Upper Suisgill (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14683.

Upper Suisgill (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG14686.

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, 105, No. 308 (Text/Report). SHG2657.

RCAHMS, 1993, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Strath of Kildonan: an archaeological survey (Text/Report). SHG2669.

<1> Historic Environment Scotland, 2016, Amendment to the Schedule of Monuments Feb 2016: SM1886: Suisgill, broch 100m NNW of Corbuie (Text/Designation Notification/Scheduled Monument). SHG27175.

Sources/Archives (13)



Grid reference Centred NC 8875 2530 (70m by 70m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NC82NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish KILDONAN

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