An Dun, at the southern end of Gairloch Beach, was an important site from the Iron Age, although the visible remains of a vitrified fort at the site probably date from much later.
When the Vikings began settling the west coast at the beginning of the 9th century AD they may well have remodelled the early fort of An Dun. The Vikings most likely recognised the loch as a convenient natural harbour, where their vessels could take refuge when storms whipped up the often dangerous waters of The Minch into a lethal tumult. The period of Viking dominance in the area is testified to by the number of local place names with Norse origins; such as the Isle of Horrisdale or Thorndale (named after the Norse God, Thor).
With the Viking defeat at the Battle of Largs, Viking domination of the western seaboard came to an end and local families came to vie for power in Gairloch. The clans Mackenzie and McLeod became locked in a deadly struggle for domination which saw the Mackenzies gaining the upper hand in 1494 when King James IV (1473-1513) granted Gairloch to Hector Roy Mackenzie, who subsequently gained the title of First Chief. Hector Roy also obtained a commission from the king for the destruction of the McLeods of Gairloch by ‘fire and sword’. The Mackenzies would have waged their war from the wooded Flowerdale Glen, a little inland from Gairloch Bay. Around the year 1500 AD local folklore tells us that one of the clan chief’s bodyguard fired an arrow from the hill overlooking Flowerdale House at a lookout on a McLeod vessel in the bay, striking him dead at a distance of over 700 metres. Flowerdale House, first built in 1738 and then extensively remodelled in 1904, remains the seat of the Mackenzies of Gairloch to this day. Despite Mackenzie suppression the McLeods survived; in 1623 Clan MacLeod became proprietors of Gairloch and had their seat at An Dun.
Gairloch is a beautiful place to visit, especially on a sunny day. Take a stroll along the beautiful sandy beach or have a meal and a beverage at one the local eateries.Pop in to the Tourist Information and find out about places to visit in the area of historical interest.
The cache is a camouflaged lock and lock box. At the time of placing it contained the usual log book and pencil, a couple of nic nacs for kids and a couple of my knot keyrings.