MHG337 - Fort, Torr an Duin

Summary

No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • FORT (Early Bronze Age to Pictish - 2400 BC? to 900 AD?)
  • VITRIFIED STONE? (Early Iron Age to Pictish - 550 BC? to 900 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

At NM 9700 6330, on an isolated rocky ridge, running NW-SE, known as Torr an Duin, are the remains of a fort.
The highest (SE) part of the ridge, measuring c. 40.0m by c. 15.0m, has been defended by a wall which can be traced in the NW, N, and NE, where the base course of the outer face is visible intermittently. A quantity of tumble at the base of the cliffs elsewhere suggests that the wall continued around the cliff top, but there is now no trace of it.
At a lower level to the NW and along the NE side of the ridge is a further wall, now visible as a turf- covered bank spread to c. 3.0m and c. 0.5m high. It is uncertain how or where it was joined to the main wall, but it may be a continuation of the wall marked A-B on plan. At its NW extremity is an excavation made by Reid (1909) in 1908 where he found an "exceptionally strong wall of two courses with masses of vitrified material inside it." The excavation is now overgrown and no vitrified material can be seen but two earthfast stones here may be of the inner and outer faces giving a wall thickness of 2.3m.
The change in level between the walls is noted by Reid as a partly artificial ditch, but it appears to be natural.
Feachem (1963), and Reid, who writes them off as cattle pens, note several "mound marked enclosures" to the W of the fort, but there is nothing here but natural formations.
Reid notes the entrance to the fort "in its E end, a door check being cut into the rock a third of the way up the path, and inside the barrier a quarry-like clearing, possibly a pen for animals,". The entrance cannot now be located, but it would probably be in the NW at the easiest approach. The alleged door check was not located but the quarry-like clearing is a sub-rectangular shelf in the SE slope of the ridge, with traces of walling around it, and is probably a sheep pen associated with depopulated activities at the S base of the ridge.
Surveyed at 1:10,000.
A Reid 1909; R W Feachem 1963; Visited by OS (R L) 7 May 1970.

(NM 9700 6330) Fort (NR)
OS 1:10,000 map, (1975)

Fort, Torr an Duin: The summit of Torr an Duin, a narrow rocky ridge rosing to a height of some 25m above the N shore of Loch nan Gobhar, is occupied by the remains of a univallate stone-walled fort. On the NE, SE and SW sides precipitous rocky slopes afford strong natural protection, but a more gentle, although rock-studded, incline provides relatively easy access from the NW. The fort measures approximately 45m by 12m internally and has been defended by a stone wall, which survives on the N half of the perimeter as a low grass-grown band of stony debris, ranging from about 1m to 3.3m in thickness. At various points, and particularly on the NW, short stretches and individual stones of the outer face have been preserved in situ, as shown on the plan; no inner facing-stones can, however, be seen. Elsewhere the wall appears to have collapsed down the steep sides of the ridge, and a considerable amount of debris has accumulated at the foot of the slope on the SW.
When excavation was carried out in 1908, it is recorded (Reid 1909) that a large amount of vitrified material was recovered from a 'remarkable tumulus' at the W end of the fort, although none was found in any of the other sections cut through the defences. The only vitrifaction to be seen on the date of visit was a single lump found lying in tumbled debris at the foot of the SW slope. However, comparison of the published plan with the surviving remains makes it tolerably clear that the excavator had overestimated the length of the fort, and the source of vitrified stone thus lay approximately 30m NW of its E end. Whether the vitrifaction discovered in 1908 came from an outer wall, now totally obscured, or from the main wall cannot now be determined, but the latter alternative seems more likely.
The entrance is situated in the middle of the N side, immediately NW of a large boulder which has been incorporated in the fabric of the wall. The feature situated below the fort at the SE end of the ridge, which was described in the report as a rock-cut 'gateway', should be entirely discounted. The interior of the fort contains no traces of habitations. RCAHMS 1975, visited 1973.

This site was included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <1>

Sources/Archives (5)

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred NM 9700 6330 (100m by 100m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NM96SE
Civil Parish ARDGOUR
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (4)

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