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Glenelg Pictish Brochs (Scotland)

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Dun Telve and Dun Troddan, Pictish Brochs located in Glenelg, Scotland

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      09.11.2009 21:17
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      Worth a visit if you are in the area

      Beyond the village of Glenelg, tucked away in the glen, are the remains of a number of Pictish Brochs. Glenelg is located in the north west Highlands, reached either by road a rather windy narrow road signposted from the A87 at Shiel Bridge or by ferry from the Isle of Skye. The Brochs are signposted from the village of Glenelg. They are owned and maintained by Historic Scotland.

      The Picts were a confederation of tribes living in what is now eastern and northern Scotland before the Roman conquest of Britain until the 10th century. Pictland (or Pictavia) gradually absorbed the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata (or Dalriada) to form the Kingdom of Alba. Glenelg is located on the northern edge of what was Dál Riata.

      A broch is a hollow walled, round stone structure which is only found in Scotland. It was roofed, and used to house people and animals, and had areas for cooking and work, for example weaving.

      There are two well preserved brochs in Glenelg, along with a few more which are barely recognisable. The two which are in good condition are a couple of miles from the village. Access is along a very narrow road. There is no defined parking, just a lay by beside each broch - they are about a mile apart.

      The first broch is Dun Telve. There are two information boards, which are really interesting. They show artists impressions of what the broch was probably like when it was lived in over 2000 years ago, which are very helpful as the internal timber structure is no longer there.

      The broch is not intact. About half of the external wall survives, and only a small part of the staircase which ran inside the wall. It is however an excellent example of a broch, the only one more complete is on Shetland. In some ways I found the fact that only half the external wall is standing made it easier to see the structure of the broch, as I could see the two external walls and where the stairs had been.

      The second broch is Dun Troddan. It is a little further up the glen, and again there is only a lay by to park in. It is worth pointing out that while Dun Telve is on the same level as the road, Dun Troddan is up a short but steep slope from the road and so may not be accessible to all.

      Overall, Dun Troddan is in a similar condition to Dun Telve. There are information boards, and half the external walls remain standing. There is however a good section of stairway remaining which is still in excellent condition so you can climb up it.

      I really enjoyed visiting the brochs, as I found them fascinating. These are structures which were built 2000 years ago, and yet they are more or less still standing. In fact, the reason they are not completely intact is because the stones were used in the 18th century by the locals to build houses. Had they been left to nature they would likely be intact.

      There is no charge to visit the brochs, and as access is not controlled they are open 24 hours a day, and every day of the year.

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