Dark, mysterious hillfort in Mid Argyll, centre of an ancient civilisation.

When you drive from Glasgow over the Rest and be thankful and take the meandering road past Inverary to Lochgilphead and leave the Crinan Canal to your left you will enter Kilmartin Glen, a deep valley carved into the soft moory earth by the river Add. Walking down the valley from Kilmartin to Kilmichael you will notice not only the serene beauty of this ancient landscape, but also numerous standing stones and a dark, brooding rocky outcrop dominating the vale: This is Dunadd, the ancient centre of the kingdom of Dal Riada.

As so wonderfully described in Aneurin's node, Dal Riada was the kingdom of the immigrated irish Scottii that span pretty much the area of today's Argyll and Bute and lasted from 500 AD to 900 AD. Judging by the excavations in 1904, 1925 and 1981, the Dunadd was a large hill fort with four walls on different levels mainly used as administrative centre and for the crowning ceremonies of the kings of Dal Riada. If you walk towards it, you will notice how alien it looks in this landscape of green hills, meadows and moors, and how frightening it must have have look to the average peasant 1500 years ago.

Climbing to the top, you will notice large slabs of granite with a footprint and a carved bowl in it, accompanied by Ogham writings. This (it is presumed) is the place were the ceremonies were held, and while you gaze down on Kilmartin Glen and the moors, you can imagine what it must be like when Kenneth Mac Alpin was standing here all those hundreds of years ago.

I would, nevertheless, advise against visits after sunset: the atmosphere is definitely eerie, and the climb up can be a bit hazardous, so beware.

Source: My own numerous visits,

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