Caisteal Grugaig - Totaig Broch
First view of the Broch at Totaig called Caistel Grugaig
From the wee house where the ferry left at Totaig for Dornie, follow the path through the gate for just over half a mile and to a height of around 250 ft and up on the left just after the trees you will spy Caisteal Grugaig or the Totaig Broch. Although not in a state of best repair the broch has never been restored and as such is interesting for this reason.
The broch overlooks the head of Loch Alsh and the joining of Loch Long and Loch Duich with a wee burn of good water flowing swiftly nearby. The grassy slopes surrounding the broch fall sharply away to the north-east and upwards some 750 ft more to the summit where the onwards path meanders towards Glenelg. Although a steep hillside the broch sits on a rocky knoll and so the interior of the broch is level.
The internal passages and stairway to level two (or three?)
Entry to the fort is by a door with a triangular lintel stone which some say give the broch character. Its likely that this stone was chosen for its flat bottom. The height of the remains of the broch vary from 15-19 feet (depending how you measure) to around 5 feet at its lowest parts. From what is left and our knowledge of what brochs originally looked like, this building has had much of the building stones removed for other purposes over the centuries. Its fair to say, that on an academic level the structure is very interesting, the casual visitor may find the broch a ruin. Even so, you should peer inside at least to see what is a good example of the inner court of a broch.
The broch peers across the loch in both directions
Comparing Caisteal Grugaig with other brochs (Dun Telve and Dun Troddan in Glenelg), it can be estimated that you are looking at (at least) under a third of the original broch.
The hill on which the broch stands is called Watchplace of the Tower or in the Gaelic “Faire an Duine” which legend has it was the domicile of the witch Grugaig. She bore two giant sons Telve and Todder whose names are given to the Brochs: Dun Telve and Dun Troddan (aka Trodain) over the hill in Glenelg.
The passageways or openings can be explored* and the internal
structure seen (not obvious from this picture)
If you are visiting the Totaig broch it would be a shame not to follow the path a few hundered yards further on up the hill (steep) to the top where spectacular views can be had of the Skye Bridge and mountains of Lochalsh and Skye. On a clear day its chust sublime!
*REMEMBER this is not a safe structure and you enter at your own risk. Also clambering about on the parapet is likely to cause damage so please remember this and tread carefully... and dont fall!
Also the road down to the Ferry House at Totaig is narrow and steep without any room for cars to pass. If you come by motorcar, leave it at the end of the road where the car park is at Letterfearn.
The old Ferry House at Totaig, Letterfearn.
The ferry went from Totaig to Dornie just minutes across the loch
Ref: There is a rather good old book with a section on the broch (and much more) with plan and elevation drawings at:-
Map showing the location of Letterfearn