Heartland - Petra's Scotland pages

Dun Telve Broch

Dun Telve is the largest of the 3 Glenelg Brochs, which are in the care of Historic Scotland, also called "the lower Broch". It is the best preserved Broch in mainland Scotland with a wall that still stands 10 m in height and it is situated in Glen Beag, near Glenelg, district of Lochaber.

click on thumnail to view enlargement
This panel by Historic Scotland tells us....

"You are standing inside the Broch, having come through the narrow entrance passage. Partway down the passage can be seen the setting for a wooden door-frame and the holes for a stout bar behind it. Within the door is the entrance to a chamber where a guard or a watchdog might have been stationed. We do not know why the guard cell here at Dun Telve is on the right, and at Dun Troddan on the left.

An inner entrance leads to a stair curving up between the inner and outer face of a hollow, galleried wall. The section of wall containing the upper stair, perhaps a weak point, has collapsed and been removed. The narrowing of the walls at their highest level suggest the stair may not have reached right to the top. Gaps in the stonework of the inner wallface were probably to lighten the mass of masonry rather than to allow light into the galleries.

The stone ruins, even if imagined complete and standing over 10 m tall, are only half of the story. Modern excavators found holes for stout wooden posts in the floor, hinting at a now vanished, raised floor platform, or possibly even two, covered by a sloping roof, with a central hole for letting light in and smoke out. A ledge high on the inner wallface may have carried the outer edge of such a structure.

It seems likely that the inhabitants lived in reasonable comfort in this wooden structure rather than in the cramped, damp and murky galleries within the stone walls, these being used for storage. The stone stairway, too, may have been unimportant in daily life, with access to the upper levels and wallhead by wooden ladders.

Even as partly ruined structures, the brochs of Glenelg bear witness to the ingenuity of Scotland's Iron Age farmers faced with a threat whose nature we can only guess at."

How to get there:

The village of Glenelg is a few miles south of the Skye Bride. From the A87 at Shiel Bridge by Loch Duich, cross the old stone bridge up to Mam Ratagan pass to Glenelg. After a few miles further south turn left to Glen Beag. On the right hand side of the single track road you'll find Dun Telve Broch and a few miles further on the left hand side lies Dun Troddan Broch.

Dun Telve Broch Dun Telve Broch Dun Telve Broch Dun Telve Broch Dun Telve Broch
view to Dun Telve Broch from Dun Troddan
view to Dun Telve Broch from Dun Troddan
Life inside the broch. Click to view enlargement Plan of Dun Telve. Click to view enlargement

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