Back in the prehistoric Iron Age, the other end of the Hill had a similarly defensive role. A grouping of fortified structures occupies the top of the western slopes of the Rarichies, Easter and Wester, above Shandwick.

The main fortification commands extensive views that look directly along the coast and over to the great seventh-century Pictish coastal fortress at Burghead, near Forres. Cultural continuity of a defensive site is shown here also for the central fortification at Easter Rarichie later acquired, but still in prehistoric times, a secondary ‘dun’ built within its ramparts.

At Easter Rarichie there is what is called a Danish Fort on top of a moraine; it is in fact a hill fort or dun, one of the class monuments surviving from this age. Generally known as Fairy Hill, it is surrounded by about five smaller moraines, all reputed to have been hill forts also. One, lying about 250 yards west of the “Danish Fort” has a hollow on top and a turf-covered rubble wall (7), and on another, known as “The Toppie,” a stone axe was found about thirty years ago by the present owner’s cousin. The axe is understood to be in the museum of St Mary’s School, Melrose, where the finder’s father was at that time headmaster.

The Danish Fort itself has no wall at the top but there are remains of a small rampart and what may have been an inner camp. It is ruinous as a result of stone robbing and ploughing up what might have lain on the flat land below. There are at least two main structural phases among the six defensive features crowded on to the knoll, and it appears that a homestead was constructed there after the fort had fallen into disuse.



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