Clachtoll Broch

Photos here

This was an interesting day out, as the broch was being excavated while I was there. It meant rather than a jumble of rocks, I could actually see a lot of the original stonework. There was even a bowl of some kind showing in the floor. The excavations have brought this broch to life.

Access is easy, get yourself to Clachtoll and there is plenty of parking. Everyone knows where the broch is and can point you in the right direction. It's not far to walk, and there is a good path along the shore from a picnic area.


Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.

There is a rather intriguing architectural feature in this broch, a feature I've seen elsewhere, but which I've never commented on. This is my 106th broch bagged over a good number of years, but until now I've never commented on the pyramid stone lintels above the entrances of a few brochs. I've kept my thoughts to myself, and with each passing broch I've thought more about them, and now I feel confident enough to put forward a theory on how they came to be there. You see, I don't think the Picts built brochs with pyramid lintels, I think they were added later. Here is the lintel of Carn Liath broch, near Brora. Note that if fits the broch perfectly, with no loose stones jammed in anywhere, with the orginal walls built around the lintel. The stonework is perfect.

Here is the entrance to Dun Dornaigil. Does the stone fit the broch exactly? No it doesn't. Were the walls of the broch built around this stone? No, they were not. This is a bodge job by someone who moved in long after the PIcts and had the broch altered. The lintel stone doesn't even look contemporary with the rest of the broch.

This is the lintel above the entrance to Caisteal na Colle, or Castle Cole as it's also known, in Strath Brora. Look how perfectly the lintel fits the broch stonework. The walls were obviously built around the lintel. Look at the two stones to the right. Look how perfectly the stonework fits. This is an original lintel.

Here is the lintel above the entrance to the Ousdale Burn broch. Again, see how perfectly the stone matches the broch, and how perfectly the walls have been built around it.

Here is the pyramid lintel above the entrance to Clachtoll broch. Talk about a bodge job? Seems there have been cowboy builders around since forever. I do not believe this is the original lintel.

 

Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.