Dun Carloway Broch (Dun Charlabhaigh)
Situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea, the broch is one of the best-preserved in Lewis; one wall still stands 30 feet at its highest point. Brochs are stone fortifications looking remarkably like huge ruined chimneys.They date from the late Iron Age period, and are likely to have housed the chief of small tribes. Dun Carloway consists of two concentric circular stone walls, which once held lookout posts reached by an inner stairway. The entrance is to the Northwest and leads to a small ‘guard cell’, once inside the central courtyard there are four openings to galleries within the walls.
The inner walls once joined at the top, and it is likely that only the lower levels between them were accessible to the inhabitants. It is most probable that the original structure of the broch consisted of a ground floor for animals (in stalls) and an upper floor, resting on the still visible scarcement (ledge) about 8 feet from the ground. The upper floor may have served as the living quarters, perhaps with a central hearth. The roof may have been an angled affair of wooden poles and animal skins resting on the inner wall of the broch.
However, the full structure of these fortified towers, and the inner layout is open to speculation, it may have varied from broch to broch.
Directions: Reached from a minor road off the A858, there is a car park and a visitor’s centre.