A record of our ancient Brochs, Hill-forts and Sculptured Stones of Scotland

Langdale Broch


N.M.R. number:- NC64SE1 Highland HER number:- MHG12460   OS Grid Ref:- NC69264496



Site Description:-

Langdale Broch stands high above the northern side of the Langdale Burn some 200m from its confluence from the west with the River Naver. The site sits on a large mound suggestive of an earlier chambered cairn site. Much of the stone has been removed for later use as in the rectangular house bottom left of the photograph. There is a jumble left within the broch with little evidence for internal structures. Permission and access should be requested at the farm followed by a short walk uphill where there may be livestock.


Major Structural Notes:-

The outside diameter is estimated to 19.5m at its maximum with a wall thickness maximum of 5m with an inside diameter estimated as averaging 9.5m. The west-facing entrance passage has the possibility of ‘guard cells’ entered through both passage walls. The outer wall mostly only survives in the west around the entrance while the internal wall remains about a metre high in places for over half of its circumference. There is evidence for further intra-mural structures, cells or galleries, in the north-west and south-west. Only excavation would clarify these stone faces.


Associated Structures:-

There is the suggestion of external structures at and beyond the entrance which may be of more recent date or evidence for an earlier structure underlying the broch


Site Setting:-

The mound on which the broch sits gives wide views all around this part of central Strath Naver and west up the gentler slopes of the Langdale burn. The broch entrance points to the top of Cnoc nan Cuilen some 10Km almost due west. The south-facing slopes of this glen have multi-period archaeology near to the broch and there is run rig just to the west. The nearest neighbouring broch site is some 4Km to the north-west across the river and a further enigmatic but very interesting site another Km beyond that has been labelled as a broch. Again as noted in other site studies many of the 11 Strath Naver broch sites have continuity of occupation from the Bronze Age until the 19th Century, so there is no doubt about the fertility of the land and its ability to support sizeable communities in the past.


Special Mentions:-

There is a strong suspicion that the mound on which the broch sits is artificial and may even be the remains of a chambered cairn.

The ruined house just to the east of the mound has what appears to be an underground extension to its western end and is worth an inspection.


Sources: Site visits, Highland HER and RCAHMS Canmore database, Swanson ms 1985.