MHG8258 - Ord Hill Fort, Knockbain


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

(NH 6640 4910) Fort (NR) OS 25"map, (1968)
A vitrified fort enclosing area c265.0m NE-SW by 115m on rocky uneven summit of afforested Ord Hill. Except at strengthened SW approach, vitrification can be seen intermittently around whole periphery. The wall is mainly overgrown with turf and trees, but base course of outer wall face is visible in ESE, and also in W where one probable inner facing stone gives a wall thickness of 3.5m. For a distance of 80m in E, wall is not evident, but a terrace prob represents part of its course. The easiest approach in SW is blocked by two curving walls of bare rubble stones, the outer spread to c.6m, and inner to c8m. No wall faces or vitrifaction are evident, and it is uncertain whether they are original or whether they represent a secondary defence. There are gaps at either end of these walls, which probably represent two entrances, but these are obscured by tumble in case of NE one, and by a forestry bank in other. Three alleged hut circles, each c10' in diameter, noted by Woodham (1956) just inside entrance, are fortuitous arrangements of tumble from wall.
R W Feachem 1963; T Wallace 1921; Visited by OS (NKB) 10 December 1970.

The site was Scheduled in 1965.

Outside double defence in SW is a fragment of another overgrown wall which is probably part of an outwork giving further protection to this vulnerable quarter. It is not vitrified.
Visited by OS (AA) 16 April 1974.

This large fort occupies summit of Ord Hill and is covered by a forestry plantation. It measures 275m x 71m within a vitrified wall which is up to 3.5m thick. Entrance in SSW and has been protected by two outworks.
RCAHMS 1979, visited 1978.

Fort Occupies prominent ridge overlooking the Firth to the S. Defences appear to be utilisation of the natural topography, v steep drops on the S & parts of the N and with stone revetments on the N and particularly the easier western approaches. It is poss that the higher more easterly summit could be defended as smaller area. All the area under trees, with paths cut through and one sight line to Inverness to S. One portion of defensive bank on NW has been damaged by one or two large holes being placed in it to create an illicit "Den" or play area. Photos of defences. - HAW 10/2002

Management agreement 12/2004 - HAW 12/2004

Headland Archaeology Ltd carried out a detailed topographic archaeological survey of the fort in June 2011. The survey was commissioned by the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) in order to provide a baseline record of the earthworks and surviving structural features of the fort. It will also inform conservation management and any future access and interpretation initiatives. A number of photographs of the fort and associated features were also taken. <1>

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

The Scheduling was amended by Historic Environment Scotland with effect from 12/06/2023. <3>

Sources/Archives (8)



Grid reference Centred NH 66386 49106 (223m by 212m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH64NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish KNOCKBAIN

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (3)

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