When is a Castle not a Castle…. when its a Broch


A Broch is very much a historic feature of Scottish architecture.  Iron age in origin, with suggestions that the name broch is of ancient Scottish and/or early northern Scandinavian adaption.  The historical background is still a cause of investigation and study with some conflicting opinion as to the original purpose of the building.

I am no expert, just love these structures and the varied surrounds in Scotland on which you discover them.  I am also of the opinion that they were an integrated family/community home.  OK, it is a solid stone structure.  The walls are invariable hollow, providing both insulation from the climate and also access to other levels.  It seems that cattle were kept with in these walls on the lower floor.  People then lived and worked on the upper floors where no doubt the heat from the animals added to the warmth in the winter months. But is it a castle? Well sort of.  It could also be described as a Manor House.  However you describe it a Broch provide a secure building for people and livestock, a place to work, a place to store food stocks and a place to relax but also a place that could be defended.  The fact that the entrance is restricted in size and no windows makes for a very secure building. The height also gave views over a wide range enabling possible hostile visitors to be seen early and precautions in a lawless world taken.

This Broch is known as Taobh A-Staigh An Duin.  It is located on the slopes of the Lochaber mountains near to Loch Hourn.  To help interpret these ruins a helpful illustrated plaque has been erected….


Stand within these walls and you have to be impressed by the skills of these early builders.  A Broch is a very practical structure, for the time in history when they were erected, they were also a very challenging and labour intensive project, a project only undertaken only with primitive hand tools.  You also have to be impressed with the concept of the Broch, a complete household, or maybe a farmstead or indeed a castle.


If you on your travels come across a Broch, allow your self some time to stand and wonder…. it also makes one consider if we relay have progressed.

No matter what you choose to ponder upon or where you travel this weekend…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

8th August

(C) David Oakes 2021

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