Dun Telve Broch
South of the village of Glenelg up a side road are the brochs of Dun Telve and Dun Troddan. The brochs are off the road in a field but are well signposted and a well 'trodden' path to them makes the need for wellies non-essential.
The brochs are not the best preserved in Scotland, and in fact the image above would suggest a degree of completeness which sadly is not the case; the back of the structure is in fact missing. The picture does however demonstrate the defensive nature, single entrance, height and round geometry of the structure. Whether the top could be used as battlements for dropping large stones on enemies is open for debate, but its likely the broch had a roof to keep out the weather.
Brochs are tall stone towers (1 more than 10 metres high) with well preserved structural features. These date from 2000 years ago and are thought to have been defensive towers occupied by families of Picts. That said recent research has suggested that Brochs were build by a group of travelling artisans who sepcialised in their contruction and the Broch's status in a community would be that of an early castle.
Structurally they are an incredible achievement; towers build using nothing more than dry stane dyking, able to withstand the Scottish weather for 2000 years! The tower is build using TWO concentric walls which housed stairs and living / sleeping areas. The ground floor centre area would possibly have been used for the animals when neccesary.
The brochs themselves still bear the remains of infrastructure which shows a second floor was installed at some point in the Broch's history (DunTelve).
The Brochs are quite close to each other (Dun Troddan)
To understand the reasoning behind brochs you really have to imagine what life in Glenelg was like over 2000 years ago ... the woods were not friendly places with wild animals roaming around. The hills and seas held threat of invaders. The weather cruel in winter.
On the other hand the sea and seashore provided food aplenty and the surrounding land in Glenelg is fertile. Although wood was plentiful you still needed tools and manpower to work it and of course stone is so much more durable and can be picked up off the hill or ground. All in all the broch seems like a great way for a well off ancient Scot to demonstrate his (or her) power and wealth.
In reality though, the only way to get the idea of what the brochs are like is to go there and see for yourself.
Map showing the location of Glenelg (coming soon)