Carloway Broch

The huge tower of Dun Charlabhaigh, is a remarkably well preserved broch. It sits on top of the highest hill in the village giving a panoramic view of  Loch Roag and the surrounding countryside on the West coast of the Isle of Lewis. Built in the last century it is an amazing feat of engineering with the walls 30 feet high and built with no mortar. It  stands as a great lookout for seeing advancing enemies although no one really knows for sure why these massive structures were built in the first place at around 100BC. Tradition records the builder to be the giant Darg Mac Nu-Anan in the fourth century.

The Western Isles has many brochs spread across the island but this one is the only surviving broch in almost its entirety.

It is opened year round to the public and one can enter through the low doorway into the courtyard which was once roofed and see the many chambers that housed the families animals and goods, and ascend part of the staircase that remains giving a feel of how it might have been in its day of marauding clans.

The broch would have given the local farmers and their families and livestock a refuge in those turbulent times that the Western Isles experienced.  Chambers at floor level connect by passages and stairs to narrowing galleries above and the only opening on the outer wall is a tiny door no more than 3 feet wide, so no one is going to get in there in a hurry!!

The Morrison Clan of the Isle of Lewis is said to have used Carloway Broch as a stronghold in the 17 century during the long-standing feud between them and the Macaulays of Uig. It was ended by the Donald Cam Macaulay climbing the outer wall, no mean feat in itself, and throwing burning heather down into the central area.

The broch was inhabited as late as 1870.

Opening Times and Useful Information

There is a visitor centre and a car park with a short but hilly walk up to Carloway Broch. The view on its own is worth the effort.

Carloway Broch can be visited at any time.
Entrance is free.

Open May to September
Mondays to Saturdays
10am to 5pm

Carloway Broch
Isle of Lewis
Western Isles

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