MHG5732 - Dun Borodale


Dun Borodale, a semi-broch or oval dun exhibiting broch characteristics.

Type and Period (1)

  • DUN (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NG53NE 1 5547 3633.

(NG 5547 3633) Dun (NR) Broch (NR)
OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

Dun Borodale or Voradel, an elliptical-shaped, broch-like structure, occupying a position of natural strength at an elevation of nearly 300' above sea-level. The whole of the eastern segment is so much broken down and the interior of the structure so much filled with debris that almost all details of ground level features are obscured. There are distinct traces of a passage 3' wide at its outer extremity on the E, and of a cell in the thickness of the wall at 6 1/2' S of the passage. The thickness of the walling varies from approximately 11' at the E, to 14' at the NW, and the outer face shows a very slight true batter and still remains to a height of 8 1/2' at the SE and SW. At two points, on the NW and SW, there are indications of a gallery above the level of the scarcement, averaging 15" in width and only about 18" above the debris. The scarcement extends along the inner face of the walling of the whole western segment. A small definite portion of the inner face of the gallery wall is apparent at the SW, but the indications of a like feature at the NW are not so pronounced. Immediately above the scarcement in the western section is a small crudely lintelled recess of almost 3' in width which may possibly indicate an entrance to a gallery (RCAHMS 1928). In 1870 it was possible to determine the internal measurements of this broch as 35' N-S by 24' high on the W side, but less elsewhere (Judd 1875). Confirmed as a Broch (Graham 1949).
OS 1"map, 7th Series; RCAHMS 1928; J M Judd 1875; A Graham 1949. <1>-<3>

Dun Borodale, as described above, is in poor condition. Now within Forestry Commission land and difficult of access.
Visited by OS (A S P) 8 June 1961.

Dun Borodale, a semi-broch or oval dun exhibiting broch characteristics. It measures internally 11.4m N to S by 8.0m transversely within a wall varying between 4.2m and 3.2m in thickness, with an external batter. A well defined wall face in the thickness of the wall around the S arc has been interpreted by RCAHMS as the inner side of a gallery, but as there is no trace of a corresponding outer side, although this could have fallen away or be obscured by debris, it is more likely to be a stabilizing wall. A scarcement is visible around almost the whole of the S half. The entrance in the E is checked for a door and measures 0.9m in width externally and 1.5m internally. A cell to the S of the entrance is entered from within the dun and is partially collapsed. Opposite in the W arc is a similar entrance-way with a lintel, but it is choked with rubble and it cannot be established if it leads to a cell or gallery. The 1872 report of the wall being 20ft high on the W should be treated with caution. This is about the present height of the wall above the base of the knoll.
Some 12.0m to the NNW of the dun are traces of an overgrown boulder-faced outwork drawn across the easiest approach.
Surveyed at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (R L) 22 September 1971.

The site has been identified as being of national importance and has been recommended for scheduling by Historic Scotland.
The monument comprises the remains of a fortified settlement site of Iron Age date, visible as upstanding remains.
The monument is situated in a commanding position at the S end of a steeply sided natural knoll, which is located
on the SE brow of a hill, at a height of around 80m above sea-level. The dun has an oval plan, and the interior court measures 11.6m N-S by 8.3m transversely. The walls, of dry stone construction, measure around 4.2m wide at the base. The outer face of the wall, comprising regular, large, worked and faced stone blocks, slopes inwards as it rises upwards and the upper portions of the wall measure around 3.2m thick. Portions of the wall are significantly tumbled, particularly into the interior, but a considerable height of interior face has survived. The exterior wall is most complete on the S side where externally it stands to an impressive height of around 2.6m. <4>

The monument was scheduled on 31 March 2011. <5>

The monument and its immediate surroundings were subject to detailed archaeological survey, comprising topographical survey and 3D laser scanning, by AOC Archaeology Ltd in 2012. The survey was commissioned by the Forestry Commission for the purposes of conservation management planning. The area surrounding the site had recently been felled of trees that had begun to encroach on the rubble debris spread of the monument. <6> <7>

Dun Borodale is one of four broch discussed as case studies in 'The Survey and Analysis of Brochs', an article published in PSAS 2015. Available online. <8>

Sources/Archives (15)



Grid reference Centred NG 55477 36346 (28m by 54m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG53NE
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish PORTREE

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