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

Inshlampie Broch


N.M.R. number:- NC74NW5 Highland HER number:- MHG11051   OS Grid Ref:- NC71594657   SCHEDULED



Site Description:-

Inshlampie Broch stands above a bend of the River Naver on its east bank. The site sits on a large mound suggestive of an underlying chambered cairn and the site is further isolated by the gullies of streams to the north and south. On the landward side is a ditch, originally probably natural and then deepened, now carrying a track. The broch sits at the southern end of a fertile river terrace, a situation similar to that of several brochs in the strath. Much of the stone has been removed for later use with the debris of stone and bracken left obscuring most of the internal space and any evidence for an entrance or intra-mural features is difficult to discern. But for the surrounding trees Langdale broch would be visible to the south-west and Eilean Garve dun to the north-east. Permission and access should be requested at Rhifal Lodge some 3Km to the north where there is a bridge across the river. The walk is along estate tracks, crossing one stream subject to spates and there may be livestock about. There is now a high fence to the east with a gate just to the north the dun site.


Major Structural Notes:-

The outside diameter is estimated to 15.5m at its maximum from west to east. The wall thickness in the east quadrant is about 4.5m with an inside diameter estimated as 6.5m. The entrance passage, now obscured, could conceivably be in the south or in the north-west or the north-east quadrants. The outer wall mostly only survives in the west where it was most difficult to rob beside the steep gulley. There is no evidence for intra-mural structures, cells or galleries and only excavation would clarify the missing features.


Associated Structures:-

There is the suggestion of an earlier structure underlying the broch with the mound’s lower slopes being revetted adjacent to the track across the centre of the picture. Enclosures can be seen to the south and east of the mound while another on the east of the mound plateau may have structures concealed under the bracken. There appears to be a structure in the south-most stream bed, possibly the remains of a horizontal mill of which there are many in Strath Naver.


Site Setting:-

The mound on which the broch sits overlooks the river and gives wide views westwards of this part of central Strath Naver. The nearest neighbouring broch site is some 4Km to the south-west across the river. Inshlampie depopulated settlement ruins are just to the south and there are hut circles up the Inshlampie burn and further archaeology some 200m to the north. Skaill chambered cairn is just across the river with a burial ground to the north of that with slabs under the bracken. Permission should be sought to visit the burial ground which is in the middle of a hay-field.


Special Mentions:-

Strath Naver appears on Ptolemy’s map as Fl. Naverus, suggesting that the strath was known to the Romans, probably as a safe anchorage for traders or for the fleet’s circumnavigation of Britain. The original Celtic name still survives without Norse adaptation.


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