Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Rubh' an Dunain
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_PRINT_010
PLACENAME
Rubh' an Dunain, Glen Brittle
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Bracadale
DATE OF IMAGE
1995
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
David L. Roberts
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
13207
KEYWORDS
houses
duns
cairn
reconstruction
archaeology
Rubh' an Dunain

The remote promontory of Rudh' an Dunain lies on the west coast of Skye, some 4 miles from the Glen Brittle camp site at the foot of the Cuillin mountain range. The area presents a rare opportunity to view a group of structures covering over 4,000 years of Skye's history, from the Neolithic age through to the 18th century.

This watercolour reconstruction shows the round-ended tacksman's house and associated outbuildings as they probably appeared in the mid-18th century. However, cave finds and burial monuments, including a chambered cairn or Neolithic passage grave dating from the 2nd or 3rd millennium BC, prove that man had established a settlement at Rudh' an Dunain thousands of years before. A well preserved Iron Age fort, or Dun, sits on the edge of cliffs overlooking the Sound of Soay a little to the south of the cairn, and a fascinating stone-lined canal leading from the sea to a small inland loch hints at a possible Viking occupation.

It is the ruined homestead however, with the chimney gable rising to two storeys, which still conveys a very real sense of the previous inhabitants. They were mainly MacAskills, for a time hereditary wardens of Dun Sgathaich in Sleat and the guardians of the south and west coastal approaches to Skye for the MacLeods of Dunvegan. As such, Rudh' an Dunain was in an ideal position to control the waters to the west and must have supported a considerable population. The canal with its two boat slips would have provided a base for the MacLeod birlinns. The house pictured, some 18.5 metres long, would have had half cruck roof timbers running from the upper wall, covered with thatch, and was inhabited from the early 18th century until about the 1860s when the last of the MacAskills left, many emigrating to Canada and New Zealand.

The artist, David L. Roberts (1931 - 1997), set up the Orbost Gallery on the Isle of Skye after moving there in 1975. With a background in architectural studies, he was able to combine his artistic talents and knowledge of structures to provide Dualchas, the local Museums Service, with reconstruction paintings of historical buildings. Based on surviving ruins, antiquarian illustrations, and a certain amount of educated supposition, some of the paintings were used to illustrate The Mediaeval Castles of Skye and Lochalsh, first published in 1990, and subsequently by Birlinn in 2007.


This image can be purchased.
For further information about purchasing and prices please email
Skye and Lochalsh Archives

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

Rubh' an Dunain

INVERNESS: Bracadale

1990s

houses; duns; cairn; reconstruction; archaeology

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David L. Roberts' Prints and Drawings

The remote promontory of Rudh' an Dunain lies on the west coast of Skye, some 4 miles from the Glen Brittle camp site at the foot of the Cuillin mountain range. The area presents a rare opportunity to view a group of structures covering over 4,000 years of Skye's history, from the Neolithic age through to the 18th century.<br /> <br /> This watercolour reconstruction shows the round-ended tacksman's house and associated outbuildings as they probably appeared in the mid-18th century. However, cave finds and burial monuments, including a chambered cairn or Neolithic passage grave dating from the 2nd or 3rd millennium BC, prove that man had established a settlement at Rudh' an Dunain thousands of years before. A well preserved Iron Age fort, or Dun, sits on the edge of cliffs overlooking the Sound of Soay a little to the south of the cairn, and a fascinating stone-lined canal leading from the sea to a small inland loch hints at a possible Viking occupation.<br /> <br /> It is the ruined homestead however, with the chimney gable rising to two storeys, which still conveys a very real sense of the previous inhabitants. They were mainly MacAskills, for a time hereditary wardens of Dun Sgathaich in Sleat and the guardians of the south and west coastal approaches to Skye for the MacLeods of Dunvegan. As such, Rudh' an Dunain was in an ideal position to control the waters to the west and must have supported a considerable population. The canal with its two boat slips would have provided a base for the MacLeod birlinns. The house pictured, some 18.5 metres long, would have had half cruck roof timbers running from the upper wall, covered with thatch, and was inhabited from the early 18th century until about the 1860s when the last of the MacAskills left, many emigrating to Canada and New Zealand.<br /> <br /> The artist, David L. Roberts (1931 - 1997), set up the Orbost Gallery on the Isle of Skye after moving there in 1975. With a background in architectural studies, he was able to combine his artistic talents and knowledge of structures to provide Dualchas, the local Museums Service, with reconstruction paintings of historical buildings. Based on surviving ruins, antiquarian illustrations, and a certain amount of educated supposition, some of the paintings were used to illustrate The Mediaeval Castles of Skye and Lochalsh, first published in 1990, and subsequently by Birlinn in 2007. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href= "mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com" >Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>