No bricks, no mortar, no buttress -- just stone placed on top of stone on an exposed Lewis hilltop nearly 2,000 years ago, Carloway Broch roundhouse has stood tall against the Isle of Lewis’s raging Atlantic storms since the Iron Age. Looking out to Loch Roag, this is one of the best preserved brochs in Scotland, and parts of the Dun Carloway still come close to its original height at nine meters tall.
It’s not clear why these brochs (Scottish drystone roundhouses) were ever built, but it’s thought that they could have been the homes of the high-status local leaders. Even though the building of brochs fell out of fashion in 150 AD, this multi-story roundhouse has continued to be used through the ages.
Dun Carloway was even the scene of one particularly dramatic fight back in the 1500s, when a party of Morrisons stole cattle from the Macaulay clan and hid out in the broch. What did the Macaulays do? Smoke their enemies out with burning heather, of course.
Next to Dun Carloway is the Doune Broch visitor center, where you can learn all about Iron Age life on the Isle of Lewis and get a sense of how life here must have been all those years ago.
About 10 miles northwest of Stornoway on the A858, the visitor center is open from April to September from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can visit the Broch itself all year round. Admission to both is free.