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  Dun Dornaigil Broch


Dun Dornaigil Broch (sometimes also referred to as Dornadilla) lies about half way between Altnaharra and the tiny settlement of Hope. A narrow, twisty, but extremely scenic, single track road leaves Altnaharra, initially heading west but then it turns north to head towards Loch Hope and then on to the north coast of Sutherland.

A broch is a small Iron Age dry stone tower. They were built in the last few centuries BC and the first centuty AD.

Their exact purpose is not clear. Many think that they were defensive structures, their tall stone walls and ramparts providing protection to the native farmers and their livestock should they come under attack by rivals from neighbouring communities. However, some archaeologists believe that they were simply "status symbols", a visible demonstration that a particular settlement or group of people were wealthy and successful.

Dun Dornaigil is one of the best preserved brochs in the north of Scotland. Although the remains are impressive, the broch would have originally stood almost twice as tall. Its walls are fourteen feet thick and would have been hollow with a stone staircase inside giving access to galleries which were probably used for storage. The inner courtyard has a diameter of twenty seven feet and would have been covered with a thatched roof.

One interesting feature of Dun Dornaigil is the huge triangular lintel stone above what would have been the entrance to the broch. Although the structure is well preserved, it is not possible to enter the interior.


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