Dun Beag Broch, Isle of Skye, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on a historic structure, unique to Scotland, which is known as a broch. A broch is, essentially, a high status residential structure of which the remains of many examples can be found in the islands and Highlands of Scotland.

The broch illustrated in this post is that known as Dun Beag and can be found close to the A863, about ten miles south of Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. The name is of Gaelic origin and translates as ‘little fort’ or ‘little hill’.

The remains shown in the images probably represent about 10 pct of the original structure which would have resembled something akin to a modern-day lighthouse. Brochs are typically found near the coast or waterways, possibly because water was the principal means of communication and travel when the brochs were at their peak around 500 BC to 500 AD.

Brochs comprise dry-stone built towers about 10 metres ( 33 feet) in height and some 25 metres ( 82 feet) in diameter. The walls are invariably double skinned, thick at the bottom, tapering inwards towards the top which was roofed over. This is clever engineering because the walls support each other and make possible a high building of relatively lightweight form. Within the walls can be found stairways and chambers.Internally, the brochs probably featured several internal floor levels. It is believed the design provided a good level of insulation, which was important because of the exposed locations occupied by the brochs.

As a high status dwelling a broch may have been occupied by a local chieftain and his extended family. The broch would also act as  refuge for the family, local community and valuable animals in times of trouble. Evidence suggests farming and fishing formed the basis of the local economy during the broch era.

Video clip of Dun Beag Broch

Dun Beag Broch, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Dun Beag Broch, Isle of Skye, Scotland

View of Cuillin Mountains from Dun Beag Broch, Skye