MHG55341 - Possible dun or fortification - Tor Alvie


Several stony banks and changes of slope represent the probable remains of a hill top fort which has been grossly disturbed by the construction of the Duke of Gordon Monument.

Type and Period (2)

  • DUN? (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • (Alternate Type) FORT? (Early Bronze Age to Pictish - 2400 BC? to 900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

During a tour of the Kinrara policies in April 2006, members of the North of Scotland Archaeological Society noted several stony banks and changes of slope on the summit of Tor Alvie. These were further investigated in the winter of 2010-11 and were felt to be the remains of a hilltop fort enclosing an area of roughly 85m x 30m on the summit. The site is an ideal location for such a fort considering its location, vantage point and prominent position. Details were taken of the site and a sketch drawn in January 2011. This site is situated 4kms SSW of Aviemore on the summit of Tor Alvie, a hill which occupies the floor of the Spey valley and which is notable for having a monument to the Duke of Gordon on its summit, altitude 358m. The hill is part of the Kinrara estate and lies between the river Spey and the railway. The hill is elongated, two kilometers in length and aligned NE-SW, with a steep NE end and a more gradual slope or “tail” to the SW. Access is gained from this direction by a rough estate track for most of the way. Tor Alvie is covered in open woodland with pine and birch trees and has rampant juniper bushes in many places.

A flattish area of 85m x 30m tipping to the SW, is seen on the summit of Tor Alvie; it is enclosed by traces of a stoney bank. At the SW end this stoney bank is between 2 and 3 m thickness and 0.2m height and on its SE side there is an abrupt change of slope which for some of its length is seen as stoney banks and is continuous with the SW bank. At the NW side, the bank continues as a change of slope, similar to that on the SE side, for a short length. The NE end of the hill has been significantly disturbed by the building of the monument which is on a platform and it is probable that any remains of the fortification have been destroyed. At the SW end a linear setting of stones runs parallel and on the outside of the stoney bank and 25m to the SW a further change of slope of 40m length, may indicate additional fortification. These SW features are breached by a grassy track which continues to the monument at the NE end of the area." <1>

This site was included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NH 8770 0887 (91m by 97m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH80NE
Civil Parish ALVIE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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