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Dun Carloway Broch -Doune Carloway -Isle of Lewis - Western Isles - Outer Hebrides
The Iron Age Broch at Carloway in The Western Isles a stunning example of a broch. The broch was a structure built as a means of defence. The Carloway broch was probably built for either a tribal leader or at least for a really important member of the community. It was built with two concentric drystone walls.


Dun Carloway Broch

The Broch at Carloway formed with two concentric walls - is the best preserved broch in The Western Isles. Dating from the Iron Age, it has actually seen occupants over the centuries. Brochs were built as defensive residences for either important tribal leaders and their families, or for a really important member of the community at that time. Brochs were drystone circular buildings, formed by two concentric walls - fastened together with flags at varying heights - galleries were formed in the interspace, connected by stairs. There were no openings in the wall, except a low door at the entrance to a passage to the inner court which was open to the sky - usually there was a guard cell in this passage.

It isn't know exactly how long the Carloway Broch was in use, however it is known that it was in use in the 1500's. Originally, the walls might have been about 13 m (43 ft) high. The broch's double wall is well preserved, showing how tiers of galleries were linked by a stone staircase within the hollow wall.

Path leading to the Broch at Carloway - Isle of Lewis
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Pathway to the Broch
The setting for Broch is really pretty, it is situated at the top of the hill, which of course makes perfect sense as it was designed as a means of defence in the Iron Age.

The Broch is about a mile and a half away from Carloway sixteen miles North West of Stornoway on THe Isle of Lewis. The road is the A858. The Broch, a great circular tower that still stands thirty feet high, located on the hilltop and commanding a panoramic view of Loch Roag.
These Western Isles inhabitants really did have the ability to innovate. They created the design of this broch, specifically to suit their needs.

1870 - Occupied
Up to as late as the 1870's this building or "fortress" was occupied - when it is said that a respectable - looking family were living on the ground floor of the broch.

Broch at Carloway - Isle of Lewis
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Tragedy - The Morrisons Slaughtered
Unfortunately the structure wasn't always as secure as the people would have liked. It is said that a party of Morrisons in the 1500'swere sheltering in the Broch for the night

Unfortunately for them - their enemies the Macaulays came by - they scaled the outer wall and smothered the entire family of Morrisons with burning heather.

Half The Age of the Callanish Stones
The Broch, approximately half the age of the Callanish Stones but is almost as much of a rarity. Brochs were built at the beginning of the Christian era and are specific to the North or Scotland

Dun or Brock?
Dun Carloway - really maybe ia a misnomer - as Duns were actually smaller structures for perhaps just one small family - The "Dun Carloway Broch" really is quite large and most definitely a 'dun'

Dun Carloway Broch  - Entrance - Isle of Lewis
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The Entrance
The structure is entered at the Northwest side and leads to a small cell - probably a guard cell. You can now see that the most easily accessed parts have been destroyed, so that you can see the exposed sections quite clearly.

Once inside the central courtyard there are four openings to galleries within the walls.

Ancient Masons - Masters of Their Craft
You can also see from these interior shots that the ancient masons really were masters of their craft as you view their skill shown in the drystone walling techniques they used.

No Mortar - No Buttress
It is remarkable that a structure built with no mortar and no buttress - exposed on a hilltop to the Atlantic winds and hurricanes has survived.
Dun Carloway Brock - THe Interior - Outer Hebrides

Interwall Steps

You can see here the interwall steps. The stairs are fitted within the thickness of the would have been an area on the ground floor for the animals. The people would have lived a little higher up.

Several Floors
There is evidence of several floors within the circular tower. There would have been a conical roof which may have been an angled affair of wooden poles and animal skins and straw resting on the inner wall of the broch.

Sophistication In Understanding
The interior shots we took of the Broch show the details that was used in its construction along with some of the principles of building techniques that were used 2000 years ago - they all show a great sophistication in the understanding of large structures

Power and Status
The broch would have been seen as a statement that showed the power & status of the family who owned it

  Dun Carloway Brock - Showing the Dry Stone Walling - Outer Hebrides
The Broch at Carloway - Isle of Lewis
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The Broch gives us evidence that 2000 years ago there was a settled community on the West coast of Lewis who had the great technological skill. They built this structure which was strong enough to defy the elements and all that man and nature slung at it for centuries

Power and Status
The broch would have been seen as a statement showing the power and status of the family who owned it

Excavation 1972
The site was excavated in 1972. This excavation was of great importance to the Western Isles - it revealed many things, such as ash, pottery and hearths.

In Use 400AD and 700AD
Many of the 'finds' suggest that the broch had actually been used at later times to its being built. It had probably been used between 400 and 700AD


  Dun Carloway Brock - Outer Hebrides

More Pictures Taken of The Scenery Surrounding The Broch
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Another view of the lovely Broch at Carloway
A Once Nice Croft house near The Broch at Carloway
The view aroundthe Broch at  Carloway
The Broch - Isle of Lewis
Sad - A Once Nice Croft House
Looking out to Sea - From The Broch
Another view of the broch - surrounded by purple heather which you can see in the larger picture..
This croft house - or the remains of it - can be seen near The Broch at Carloway
Another view looking out to sea - the surroundings for Dun Carloway Broch.
View from the Path Leading to the Carloway Broch
View from the Path Leading to the Carloway Broch
View From The Path to The Broch
Surreal - The Broch
View from the path that leads to the Broch
The Broch - red sky - a beautiful setting
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