Iron Age Ruins of Dun Ringill

Traditionally believed to have been the seat of Clan MacKinnon for several centuries, the ruins of Dun Ringill are located on the Strathaird peninsula, overlooking Loch Slapin on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Offering a slice of history, a splendid view of the Loch and a picturesque walk to get there, Dun Ringill is a popular spot to visit on this most northerly island of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides.

The dry-stone hollow-walled structure of Dun Ringill is consistent with Iron Age buildings, with evidence indicating that the structure was modified and occupied right up until the 19th century. Clan MacKinnon moved their clan seat from Dun Ringill to Dunakin in the 16th century, and it is not clear who subsequently occupied the settlement until it was abandoned in the 19th century. Visitors to Dun Ringill will find a structure of around four meters high, with its most prominent feature being the 1.8 meter high doorway facing away from the loch. A ditch running around the structure indicates where the settlement’s perimeter wall used to be, which most likely served the purpose of both enclosing livestock and protecting the inhabitants. There is evidence that other buildings once stood within this enclosed area. Two ramps made of earth and stone lead down to the water’s edge on either side of the ruins, no doubt to accommodate boats which were the most common form of travel at the time in this isolated location.

Loch Slapin lies to the east and south of Dun Ringill, with hilly coastal plain to the north and west. Visitors can park their cars in the car park alongside the Kilmarie burial ground and walk up to the Kilmarie House where they’ll find the beginning of the footpath leading to Dun Ringill. Interestingly, Kilmarie House and grounds once belonged to Ian Anderson of the group Jethro Tull. Their 1979 album Stormwatch includes a song called Dun Ringill. The property is now managed by the John Muir Trust. The trail crosses a bridge over the Abhainn Cille Mahaire, before turning to the right and running alongside the river and later following the coast to reach Dun Ringill. The path is clearly visible and spectacular views are guaranteed for those who choose to visit this ancient site.