Dun Gallain
Dun Gallain

Dun Gallain is an Iron Age dun, or hill fort, on the western shore of Colonsay. The dun is of the type termed a promontory fort, utilising a natural headland, defended on three sides by high, steep cliffs. The fort is approximately 35 metres by 25 metres in size.

A curved, oval-shaped wall defends the crest of the hill, and there are vague outlines of huts on the ground within the enclosure.

Dun Gallain is also called Fort of the Strangers. An old folk tale told locally holds that in the Viking period the fort was the residence of a local chief named Grey Somerled, related to the Lords of the Isles.

This Grey Somerled was betrayed to his enemies, who seized him and imprisoned him in a stone hut at Machrins, a mile or so away. One day a stone fell from the roof of the hut, killing the chief.

Intriguingly, there is a burial cist at Machrins, dating from the Viking period, which appears to be of native construction. The name given to this cist is Carn Shomhairle Liath, or Grey Somerled's Cairn. Could this be the burial place of Grey Somerled?