Doon Castle Broch, Dumfries and Galloway
Ardwell Point, South of Stranraer
B-road off A716
Doon Castle Broch is also known as Ardwell Broch and is the by far the best preserved Iron Age Broch or Dun in South-West Scotland. Located high on a rocky spit that projects out into the sea, cut off from the main land by a wall and ditch and only accessible along a narrow rocky causeway, its defensive qualities are clear to see. It's walls are 13 feet thick, enclosing a courtyard 30 feet in diameter. Although the interior is full of tumbled stones, the inner wall-face is still visible.
Two intra-mural cells can also be seen. The entrance to this fabulous site faces the sea, quite common among coastal brochs.
What is unusual however is that there is a second entrance opposite, which would have reduced its defensive qualities and strength, but would of course made it easier for its inhabitants to go about their daily business in times of peace.
However, for security, in the northern entranceway, bar holes can be made out. These would have held a sturdy timber bar that secured the door shut from the inside. The bar hole on the western side is shallower while that on the eastern side is very deep, indicating that the bar slid all the way into the thickness of the wall on the western side of the entrance for tidy storage, and allowing the door to swing fully open.
Why there are four Broch's built relatively close together in Galloway, far from Argyll, the Hebrides and the Northern Isles is unknown. Perhaps its builders had travelled south from Argyll and brought this technology with them or traders from Galloway had come into contact with Broch's further north and appreciated the defensive and social benefits of these marvelous towers of the north.
To access this fabulous site walk up from the lovely beach at Ardwell Bay, taking the coastal path but keeping close to the rocky shoreline as the path starts to head up and in land a little. The walk is quite a short one and is relatively flat, but do take care as you approach the ridge where the broch is located. Gorgeous views on a clear day will reward your efforts.