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

Feranach Broch

 

N.M.R. number:- NC82NW1 Highland HER number:- MHG9335   OS Grid Ref:- NC84412730        SCHEDULED

 

 

Site Description:-

Feranach Broch stands on the north bank of Abhainn na Frithe which feeds into the River Helmsdale from the west. The well-built site has been robbed to provide material for the nearby derelict house and enclosure although the walls survive to several metres high. The  entrance passage faces west  and still has lintels in place. The footprint is complex with several intra-mural spaces and the inside space is full of tumbled stone.

Access is by permission from Borrobol Lodge and a 3Km walk or a bumpy drive. A footbridge, marked on the map, crosses the stream after a moorland hike where there may be livestock or red deer.

 

Major Structural Notes:-

The outside diameter is 19.3m with a wall thickness of 4.2m with an inside diameter of around 11m. The entrance passage has a ‘guard cell’ entered through the south-most passage wall. Another intra-mural cell is accessed from an opening just to the north of the entrance. In the north quadrant a passage gives access to a further cell and a stair has been seen rising clockwise upwards. This mirrors several other where the stair is to the left of the entrance passage. Three other cells have been seen in the southern half of the broch but no entrances have been noted. Or possibly there is a gallery running around this quadrant.

 

Associated Structures:-

Nothing has been noted in the vicinity of the broch apart from the adjacent ruined farmhouse.

 

Site Setting:-

The broch sits on the slopes above the river with good views of southwards Srath na Frithe. The nearest broch, now destroyed, would have been visible 3Km to the west at Altanduin. A further eight spread down the Strath of Kildonan towards the sea.

Fresh water is available from the adjacent stream and the fertility of the land is evidenced by the numerous shielings, hut circles and cairns in the strath. Rough grazing is further uphill and the neighbouring hills give shelter from the westerly winds. The strath would have been a through route from Strath Brora via the Blackwater heading to northern communities.

 

Special Mentions:-

A Pictish symbol stone was discovered recently forming the cover to a field drain.

 

Sources: Site visits, Highland HER and RCAHMS Canmore database. Sutherland Inventory no.314.