Armadale Burn broch

Still much to see although it's ruined. The ground courses of stone in the walls can be traced in places and the entrance passage still exists albeit with no lintels. The interior is filled with stone but I'm of the mind there is plenty of the broch intact under the rubble.

Park just off the A836 where there is parking for 3 cars beside a picnic table (see photo below) which is signposted so easy to find. Walk up the road taking care to use the verge when traffic is approaching and access the track through the gate. There is a track all the way to the broch, part of which isn't on the OS map, but which I've marked on the map below. You can see the unmarked road and the broch in the 2nd access photo below.

One puzzline thing about brochs I've been scratching my head about for years is where did all the stone come from? Hundreds of people out scouring the hillsides and river banks collecting stone has never made any sense. In fact, I think it would have been impossible to build brochs and cairns that way. While pondering this very question while visiting this Armadale Burn broch I think I have finally realised how they did it. As all brochs share basically the same architectural design, were built to specific blueprints and exacting standards, and most of them sprang up over a 200 year period I believe they were built by national construction teams that went around the Highlands fortifying Scotland, with architectural and military genius working together. The military commanders would have picked the sites, then the architects and project managers would have organised their construction. I think the Picts had stone quarries around the Highlands near the coasts and the stone was shipped, unloaded on the shore somewhere, and then carted by mule or horse to the construction sites. The exact numbers of stones and their sizes, including lintels would have been known at the quarries from the type of cairn or broch ordered which would account for why no brochs were left unfinished and why there are no piles of excess stone lying around. After the stone had been landed, the ships or barges would then ship stone to the next site. I can see no other possible way brochs and cairns could have been built with such perfectly matched stones of the correct size and shape.

Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.

Armadale Burn broch photographs

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Armadale Burn 02

Armadale Burn 03

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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.