Gairloch beach headland
An Dun is located at the southern end of beautiful Gairloch Beach, and was an important site from the Iron Age, although the visible remains of a vitrified fort at the site probably date from much later. A small fort consisting of an enclosure on a promontory, is cut off by a ditch crossed by a causeway. Steep sides fall abruptly into the sea from the headland.
A narrow rocky path gives access from the shore to the small stone-walled dun which occupies the first part of the promontory. The farther end is cut off by a rocky chasm with the sea flowing through it.
On the landward side, which was most vulnerable to attack, there is an outer wall providing both an outer line of defence and a second small, enclosed area. The stone walls are largely overgrown with grass, but parts of the wall-faces are visible, particularly the inner face of the inner enclosure and the outer face of the outwork wall on the landward side.
~ History ~
800's ~ The Vikings raids across the Hebrides and western coastline eventually see small settlements establish. The abandoned Pictish fort together with its natural harbour and beach providing the ideal location to beach their long ships.
1263 ~ With the Viking defeat at the Battle of Largs, Viking domination of the western seaboard come to an end and local families came to vie for power in Gairloch. The clans Mackenzie and McLeod become locked in a deadly struggle for domination.
1494 ~ The Mackenzie's gain the upper hand in this long-standing feud when King James IV grants Gairloch to Hector Roy Mackenzie, who subsequently gains the title of First Chief. Hector Roy also obtains a commission from the King for the destruction of the McLeod's of Gairloch by ‘fire and sword’.
1500 ~ Local folklore records one of the clan chief’s bodyguards fires an arrow from the hill overlooking Flowerdale House at a lookout on a MacLeod vessel in the bay, striking him dead.
1623 ~ Despite centuries of Mackenzie suppression of the MacLeod's they survive and in 1623 Clan MacLeod become proprietors of Gairloch and have their seat at An Dun.