Carloway broch

A well-known landmark just a short drive from our B&B is Carloway Broch. The word broch originates from the Old Norse borg and the German burg, meaning castle or fortress, from which cities such as Edinburgh derive their name.

Also known as a Dùn or Doune, a Broch is a stone roundhouse dating from around 2,000 years ago. Its structure comprises a pair of concentric drystone walls, with stone slabs used to create stairways and passageways between the two walls. It’s not clear what the roof or interior structures were made of, or what they looked like.

The entrance to Carloway Broch is on the seaward-facing side
Inside you can clearly see the double walls and can even climb the stairs and walk along the passageways
The low entrance leads past a chamber, which could have been used as a guard cell, to an inner courtyard

There are thought to be around 600 brochs in Scotland, most of which are found in Caithness and the Shetland and Orkney Islands.

Brochs in Scotland (Map source: Wikimedia Commons)

Carloway Broch is one of the best preserved of its kind. Located on a rocky knoll overlooking the North Atlantic, the broch’s walls are 9m at the highest point and the diameter is around 14m.

Much speculation surrounds the use of brochs – were they primarily built as a fortress, a place of refuge for people and animals, or as a sign of wealth, status and prestige? Possibly all three. Their coastal location could provide a clue.

The information board next to the broch depicts what it may have looked like 2,000 years ago
A visitor centre is nestled discreetly into the hillside below the broch
Carloway Broch is a 30-minute drive from Rudha Glas B&B, to the north of the Callanish Standing Stones

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