MHG7570 - Dun - Dunan, Tournaig


On a promontory are the remains of a sub-circular dun.

Type and Period (1)

  • DUN (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NG88SE 4 8627 8333.
There was once a dun at Tournaig. The site is still called Dunan, or the 'little dun'. 'It is only evidenced today by the large stepping-stones that give dry access to it at the highest spring-tides'.
J H Dixon 1886.

At NG 8627 8333 on a conical peninsula approx 12m above HWM on Spring Tide, on S shore of Loch Thurnaig, are the heather-covered remains of a dun, still known locally as Dunan.
The vague inner defences approx 2.5m wide and 1m high forming two-thirds of a circle 22m internal diameter and incorporating sheer cliffs in NE, consist of tumbled rubble stones, with a few larger irregularly-shaped stones defining the wall faces. There is no trace of an entrance.
All that can be seen of outer defences is a scarp, 1.5 m max ht., and several orthostats marking wall-face. It joins E & W cliffs on the landward side of dun. The entrance is in SE.
The grassy isthmus is about 10m wide at HWM on Spring Tide, and is traversed by a line of flat-topped stepping-stones, 0.4 m high, which join the lowest point of the dun to the mainland.
Both lines of defences are very amorphous, but the inner wall appears to have been constructed of parallel lines of unworked stones with rubble infilling, similar to the nearby hut-circles (See NG88SE 14 and 15)
Visited by OS (N K B) 18 March 1965.

This dun occupies top of a conical stack which projects into Loch Thuirnaig and is joined to mainland by a narrow neck of low-lying ground. The dun wall is visible only on S and W margins of stack and may never have existed on N and E. Enclosing a roughly oval area 21m from N-S x 17m transversely, it has been reduced to a stony bank 2.6m in thickness and up to 0.5m in height. A number of boulders forming the basal course of the outer face of the wall can be seen through the deep heather that covers the site. An outwork has been drawn across the neck of the promontory, the lowest course of its outer face comprising massive boulders, with a gap on the SE which may indicate the position of the entrance.
(Inverewe 43) Visited by RCAHMS (DCC) 9 June 1994

The site was visited by J Harden in 1998 during a survey of the Inverewe Estate commissioned by the NTS. On a heather clad promontory were the remains of a sub-circular dun. The RCAHMS surveyors recorded two lines of drystone dyke/bank defences, the outer dyke/bank being the most obvious with its massive seaward-facing stones. The inner drystone defence was c1m high and is spread to c2.5m. The outer defence was little more than a scarp c1.5m high with boulder facing. There was no obvious entrance in the inner dyke/bank but the entrance was to the SSE in the outer dyke/bank. Overall the structure is c21m by c17m with dykes/banks spread to as much as 2.6m in places. There appeared to be stepping stones to the promontory for use at high tide.
The record in the NMRS states the "Both lines of defences are very amorphous, but the inner wall appears to have been constructed of parallell lines of unworked stones with rubble infilling, similar to the nearby round houses [MHG7757 and MHG7751]."
It was considered stable and recommended that the site be photographed in the spring once every 5 years. <1>

GIS spatial data created in 2018 based on OS MasterMap.<2>

The site was included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <3>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NG 8627 8332 (41m by 53m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG88SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish GAIRLOCH

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Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (2)

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