Duncarnock Fort, Barrhead, Scotland

This morning, I visited Duncarnock Fort which sits atop Duncarnock Hill near Glasgow in S.W. Scotland.

The hill, which is known locally as ‘the Craigie’  rises to a height of 204 metres and as such provides superb views across the local Paisley and Glasgow conurbation to the Campsie Fells (hills) beyond, to the north.

The site has never been fully excavated. Evidence suggests that the top of the hill was a defended settlements dating from the Iron-Age, about 2000 years  ago, and may have been occupied until the early 8th century AD. The site clearly benefits from natural defences and is consistent with similar sites dating from the Iron-Age across Britain.

The name appears to have a mixed Gaelic/Brittonic (Welsh) origin, viz:

  • In Gaelic dun means a hill or mound, frequently with an ancient fortification on top.
  • Car is probably derived from the Brittonic (Welsh) caer which may mean a fortified homestead.
  • Nock may be derived from the Gaelic cnoc which means ’round hillock’.

Both etymology and surface evidence point to a fortified settlement during the first millennium. Here is a summary of the physical characteristics:

  • Natural defences via a near-vertical face on west and crags around north and east sides.
  • Originally, the hilltop was protected by an oval wall about 3m wide covering an area 190 by 100 metres.
  • Evidence of an inner defensive wall 33m by 24 m at the summit.
  • Entrance from east via a very steep approach path overlooked from the summit.

A selection of images together with a video clip taken from the summit are provided below.

View of Glanderston Dam and N.W. from summit of Duncarnock Hill

Summit of Duncarnock, Scotland

Summit of Dncarnock, Scotland

Summit of Duncarnock Hill, Scotland

View of Barrhead and Glasgow from summit of Duncarnock

Here is a video clip looking North, towards Barrhead and Glasgow-

A fascinating site. Access via a minor road, south of Barrhead, near Glanderston Mains Farm. Grid ref: NS5010 5590

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