Dun an Sticir, North Uist, Outer Hebrides
Dun an Sticir is located on a small island in Loch an Sticir on the east side of the B893 road, where you can park with consideration with a short walk across the ancient causeways.
The name Dun an Sticir is derived from "dun", which means "fortress", and "sticir" which means "skulker". Thus Dun an Sticir means Fort Skulker.
Dun an Sticir is a place i have wanted to explore since researching the history of Castle Uisdean on Skye and its rebellious clan leader Hugh MacDonald, who was forced to escape to and hide out in this ancient stronghold, until he was eventually captured and taken away for execution.
The Dun can only be accessed by a series of stepping stones that make up the multiple causeways to the small island, across the mirror like waters that form the primary defence of this fortress. Like other ancient fortications, it was still used periodically as late as the medieval period.
The dun is not as in a good state of repair as other ancient brochs and duns we have visited, with much of the internal area covered by its stones now much overgrown. However, for me this has to be the most enjoyable and stunning locations to explore, especially at sunset which gives the whole site an air of mystery and feeling of isolation. The only trouble with this, is that during sunset the midges do start to come out in force!
This Iron Age broch was build and first occupied sometime between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago, a great circular drystone tower house was built, which functioned as a well-defended family residence, and as a conspicuous demonstration of power. The walls were 3.5 metres thick walls, within which were chambers and galleries, but the only opening to the outside world was a single small doorway. The causeways were narrower than they are today, and may have included a "rocking stone", which could alert the occupants of the broch to the approach of unwelcome visitors.