Friday, 29 August 2014

Dun Beag

Dun Beag ('Small Fort') is a well preserved broch that I visited with the family during our recent holiday on Isle of Skye.



Dun Beag is situated on a hill that provides an ideal vantage point overlooking the surrounding countryside and nearby loch. The broch was almost certainly occupied by an important local warlord...



...who would have woken each morning to quite a view!



Brochs are dry-stone round-houses that were built on the Scottish Hebridean island during the Iron Age (between 700 BC and 550 AD). They were constructed with double-skinned walls that supported each other making possible a high building that was still relatively lightweight. Rather tantilisingly, amongst the Iron Age items found around the broch were also some Viking artefacts including a gold norse ring and buckle; suggesting the broch may have been raided (and even occupied) during the later Dark Ages.



Thoughts of Norse Gael warlords surveying their conquered lands seem to have gone to Mighty Kyle's head!



Since the broch was constructed from stone, there are lots of surviving features of interest. The double-skinned wall can be seen next to Kyle, while a small room is visible next to the entrance in the photo above. Stairs that descend into the broch are shown below.



If nothing else, the broch offered a fascinating glimpse into the lives of early Skye inhabitants and the rugged landscape provides good inspiration for terrain.


One things for certain, purple heather will definitely appear on the bases of the Norse Gael! Something that struck me on Skye was how pale many of the rocks and boulders appeared amongst the heather. This is certainly something I want to pick up on in my terrain painting.
On closer inspection it appears that much of the pale colour is derived not from the rock itself, but from the surface lichen.
The last photo is not very Dark Age related, but to be fair it's not everyday you see a dinosaur footprint on the beach! This one is located at An Corran and can be seen at low tide.


1 comment:

  1. That's a fine looking broch. It seems well-preserved, if somewhat shorter than it might have been in its heyday.

    Although it's tempting to use such a building in a game with Vikings, I suspect that they were just visiting it as tourists, like us. I suppose it's possible that some locals took refuge in a disused/ruined broch when the raiders came, though?

    Rather than a broch I've got my thoughts set on a crannog - they were still in use/inhabited into the late middle ages and would certainly have been around during the Viking period. Would be a fun modelling project as well, if only a somewhat distant dream for me right now...