Baile Mhargaite Broch (Lochan Druim An Duin, Sandy Dun, Invernaver)
The broch is protected on three sides by steep rocky slopes and is approached across a low saddle which was most probably faced off with a defensive outer wall. A crude wall has been built around the top of the inner face in recent times using rubble from the broch.
You can walk along the dunes from Invernaver to the cliffs below the broch, and there is a steep track from there up to the broch itself. The climb to the broch is rocky, so good boots would be highly recommended. Please bear in mind that there are dangerous cliffs around the broch site. Parking is an issue. You may have to park quite a bit from Invernaver and walk to the dunes.
On my third visit to Baile Mhargaite, with my thoughts on Castle Spynie still fresh in my mind, a friend mentioned that the Picts were probably seafarers. Of course! If they were European refugees they would have been seafarers and would have used boats to get here. They would have also used boats around the coast for transport, trade and passing communications. Rather than travel overland, they could have sailed from here along the coast to Wick, then down to Helmsdale, then across to Tarbat Ness and it isn't far from there to Inverness. With good winds, they could probably make the trip from the North coast to Inverness in a day. Transporting troops around the Highlands by boat would also have ensured men turned up for battle fresh and ready to fight. They may even have been capable of engaging Roman galleons at sea, which would account for why the Romans never established any beachheads in the Highlands. The more time I spend with the Picts and their brochs, the more the big picture comes into view.
Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.
Baile Mhargaite broch photographs
Baile Mhargaite 01
Baile Mhargaite 02
Baile Mhargaite 03
Baile Mhargaite 04
Baile Mhargaite 05
Baile Mhargaite 06
Baile Mhargaite 07
Baile Mhargaite 08
Baile Mhargaite 09
Baile Mhargaite 10
Baile Mhargaite 11
Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.