Photographer's Note

Dun Carloway (in Scottish Gaelic D¨n ChÓrlabhaigh) is a broch situated in the district of Carloway, on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. It is a remarkably well preserved broch - on the east side parts of the old wall still reaches to 9 metres tall. In places there are also more modern repairs to the east wall. At the base the broch is around 14 to 15 metres in diameter and the walls around 3 metres thick.

Dun Carloway was probably built some time in the 1st century BC, and radiocarbon dating evidence from remains found in the broch show that it was last occupied around 1300 AD.

Brochs are mysterious features of British archaeology. These stone structures date from the Iron Age and exist only in the North and West of Scotland. In total, at least seven hundred brochs are known to have existed across Scotland. Many are in a poor state of repair, but the most complete examples look almost like the cooling towers of a power station!

They were built as a type of fortification. Typically, they had one, small, easily blocked and defended entrance leading to a circular "courtyard" within. The walls were double skinned, providing small rooms and storage areas between the inner and outer walls. Steps were also built in the gap between the walls providing access to upper wooden platforms. They were not standard living quarters; people would take refuge in the broch when a raiding party was sighted, possibly taking some of their valuable livestock with them (such as would fit through the entrance anyway).

To get this photo of the stairs between the walls I had to lay on my back on rocky uneven ground and try to steady the camera for the darkness around the base. It was tricky to get the exposure so that the light coming from above didn't over power the stonework.

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