Dounie Hill Fort
To visit the fort, travel on the A836 from Edderton towards Ardgay. About 2 miles north-west of Edderton crossroads locate a forest track leading off left into a conifer wood opposite fields (Ardvannie). Look for a green signpost on the right. There is a car park at the beginning of the track just before a boom.
To reach the fort walk uphill on the track and turn right onto a new track. Find a finger–post on your left at the start of the path that snakes up the hillside.
On leaving the trees continue up over the heather on a strimmed path until it flattens out.
Forestry Commission Scotland has erected interpretation signs at the car park and at the upper end of the path.
Historic Scotland’s description:
Scheduled Monument 11942 CREAG an FHITHICH
The monument comprises the remains of a simple fort, of probable late prehistoric date. This period known as the Iron Age is generally accepted to be between 800BC and 600AD. The monument is of national importance as a fine example of a small hilltop fortification, which has escaped antiquarian notice until recently. Its relatively simple form and lack of disturbance suggest it retains considerable potential to provide information about late prehistoric defensive settlement. This is of particular significance in this geographical area, which is often regarded as a “frontier” between hillfort building and broch building regions.
The fort is set on Creag an Fhithich, a rocky eminence on the W slope of Struie Hill, at about 125m above sea level. Although its position has a very wide outlook, it is in turn overlooked by a nearby higher eminence to the W and by the upper slopes of Struie Hill itself. The knoll is defined by low cliffs on all sides except the W. On the W, which is the easiest line of approach, a ditch with an outer bank runs N-S at the foot of a slight slope.
The ditch is cut by a causeway at its mid-point. Just to the E of the ditch, and a short distance upslope, are the tumbled remains of a substantial drystone wall, with a gap aligned with the inner end of the causeway through the outer ditch. A second gap at the S end of the walling on the W side may be later. The stone walling appears to continue at least part of the way around the perimeter of the rocky eminence.
The interior of the fort is overgrown, but there are traces of several circular depressions, especially in the SW quadrant, which may represent building foundations of a date contemporary with the ditch and walling. The ditch appears to have been disturbed, to a limited extent, during planting of trees some decades ago.
Splendid views from the east of the site, particularly towards the North Sea from where potential foes could come. Not Vikings though – that would have been later.
The funding for the footpath to the fort was partly from Highland LEADER