MHG9249 - Broch - Caisteal Grugaig


A substantial broch, on the hillside overlooking the junction of Loch Alsh, Loch Duich and Loch Long.

Type and Period (1)

  • BROCH (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NG82NE 2 8669 2508.

(NG 8669 2508) Caisteal Grugaig (NAT)
Supposed Remains of
Pictish Tower (NR)

Caisteal Grugaig, NG82NE0002

Caisteal Grugaig stands on a rocky knoll, overlooking the junction of three sea-lochs. The steeply sloping hill on which it is situated is called in Gaelic, Faire-an-Dun, ‘Watching place of the tower’. The broch is supposed to have been the home of the mother of the two giants, Troddan and Telve, who built the Glenelg brochs. (56)
As you approach, the impressive nature of the broch tower is increased by the huge triangular lintel over the low entrance passage. This had a door, the evidence for which is a square hole in the wall, over 2m deep, into which the wooden bar to keep it in place would have slotted. On the opposite side, is an opening to a small cell, which could have been a guard chamber. (71)
Further chambers, stairways and passages constructed within the thickness of the walls gave access to at least two upper, wooden floors inside the broch. As the ground surface is rocky and unlevel, these may have been the main living spaces; the ground floor could have been used for storage or to keep animals in over winter. (56)
Armit, I., 1997. Celtic Scotland. Edinburgh: Batsford.
Information from SCRAN Project, March, 2000

A well-preserved broch standing to a maximun height of 13' and clearly exemplifying several broch features - e.g. door check, mural chambers, and remains of stair and gallery.
The natural floor is on a slope, so that the scarcement, which is level, lies at heights varying between 2'4" and 7' above it. The lintel above the outer end of the entrance passage is triangular. It was cleared out in 1889. (T Wallace 1897)
R W Feachem 1963; A Graham 1951; T Wallace 1897. <1>-<3>

"Caisteal Grugaig", a broch as described and planned above. The name is still known locally.
Surveyed at 1:10,000.
Visited by OS (N K B) 27 September 1966.

"Broch to the west of Totaig, Loch Duich, Trench cut by T C Lethbridge in 1924 in interior revealed" no stones & very few finds inside, 4" humus, 2" black soil with nothing in it (? Fallen roof thatch), undisturbed rock subsoil.
Information contained in letter from T C Lethbridge (on back of photograph A54141/po from MS/228) to OS 21 January 1951.

The broch stands on the hillside overlooking the junction of Loch Alsh, Loch Duich and Loch Long, a view now partially obscured by forestry plantations. It is built of substantial stones giving a particularly solid appearance, and much of the outside wall stands clear of debris. <4>

This site was included in Mackie's 2007 'The Roundhouses, Brochs and Wheelhouses of Atlantic Scotland c.700 BC - AD 500: Architecture and material culture'. See link below to HES Canmore record which includes the chapter on this site. <5>

Photographs of the Broch and its entrance were forwarded to the HER by Paul Swan in August 2010. <6>

A laser scan survey of the broch was carried out in October 2010. A detailed photographic record was produced and the locations of the photographs plotted on the site survey. A detailed descriptive record was compiled in the field. The entrance passage, four internal cells, including the guard cell, and the scarcement ledge of the broch were all surveyed in detail. <7>

Note: See attached web page link for AOC Archaeology Group laser scan survey of the broch.

Caisteal Grugaiag 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 (34)



Grid reference Centred NG 8667 2508 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG82NE
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish GLENSHIEL

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (4)

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