While travelling around Scotland or the Western Islands, if you are like me, your eyes are looking for any castle shape buildings, scanning the countryside. Then suddenley a building will emerge from stone coloured rock……..quick camera at the ready, point and press, all at about 60 mph. Sometimes I miss, but more often than not, I do caputre something, like these remains of a building on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.
This wonderfully atmospheric medieval tower house known as MacLeods’s Tower, occupies a small island, a handmade crannog, in the centre of Loch Tangasdale, just north west of Castlebay. The unvaulted tower dates to the middle of the 15th century, although it stands on a much earlier Iron Age dun. It was built by the delightfully named John the Rough in 1430, who was the son of Marian of the Heads. It was originally 3 storeys high but the crumbling walls are now only half that height.
Don’t imagine a massive medieval fortress; this is a small defensive structure, albeit one in a beautiful location! The structure only measures 2.9 x 2.6 metres interior dimension, and the walls are 1.4 metres thick. Unless you bring a boat with you, you won’t be able to access the tower itself, there are some signs that there once was a causeway, but you get a good view from the loch side.
There is no history attached to the building, so why it was built is anyones guess, but I like to think, they just wanted to get away from it all.