MHG3956 - Fort - Caisteal an Dunriachaidh


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Type and Period (1)

  • FORT (Early Bronze Age to Pictish - 2400 BC? to 900 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

NH63SW 49 6005 3165.

(NH 6005 3165) Caisteal an Dunriachaidh (NAT) Fort (NR) (Remains of)
OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1905)

A fort, oval on plan, measuring 125' by 110' within a ruined stone wall some 10' thick, with an outer wall, at varying distances from it enclosing an area of 300' by 150'. Each wall has an entrance in the SW. R W Feachem 1963; ISSFC 1885.

Caisteal an Dunriachaidh, a mutilated fort situated on an isolated ridge running NNE-SSW. It is protected in the E and SE by a cliff, and in the N and W by a rocky scarp, with the only easy access up an easy slope from the SW.
Feachem's (R W Feachem 1963) measurements cannot be verified as neither of the walls can be traced around the E side of the ridge. A quantity of tumble at the base of the cliff in the E, however, suggests that at least one of the walls originally formed a complete enclosure. Where best preserved in the SW, both walls are spread to c. 3.0m with the outer faces occasionally protruding through the tumble to a maximum height of 0.6m. No inner faces can be seen. The entrance through each wall in the SW, is partially blocked by tumble.
The defences have been supplemented in the NW at the base of the ridge by a ditch, and the spoil used to form an outer bank, now c. 0.6m high. Within the fort is a wet depression, possibly a cistern.
Surveyed at 1:10,000.
(visible on OS air photographs 67/198/008)
Visited by OS (N K B) 2 March 1970.

Heather burning has revealed traces of another wall barring the access in the SW, some seven metres out from the second wall. Only three vague fragments survive, the most NW portion showing three outer facing stones.
Visited by OS (A A) 16 April 1974.

This fort occupies a rocky ridge; a sheer cliff forms the E side and the only easy access is from the SW. The highest part of the ridge has probably been surrounded by a stone wall, of which only the W half survives, enclosing a roughly-circular area measuring about 30m in diameter. The wall is 3.8m thick and stands to a height of up to 2m; the entrance is on the SW. A second wall extends from the cliff-edge on the SE to take in a terrace below the inner wall and swings in a gentle arc to end on the top of the cliff on the NE. The remains of a third line of defence can be seen on the NW, where a ditch with an outer upcast bank flanks the base of the ridge; on the N it appears as a stony band rising up the side of the ridge to join the outer wall. On the date of visit deep heather obscured what may be the SW extension of this work, located by the OS, cutting across the back of the ridge.
(USN93 156)
Visited by RCHAMS (PJD) 22 October 1992.

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

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NH 6003 3163 (112m by 158m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH63SW
Civil Parish DORES
Geographical Area INVERNESS

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