rectangular oblong contained in a loop of the Middlebie Burn, the high banks of
which afford a considerable measure of defence. No entrance remains visible. The
rampart is very low and not very broad, and beyond the rectilinear shape and something
in the situation, there is nothing about the construction suggestive of a Roman origin.
The second fort in this character referred to is more remarkable. It is situated
near Carruthers on Birrens Hill (No. 464). In form it is oblong and approximately
rectangular with rounded angles. The rampart rises boldly from the interior plat,
and the covering trench, where it remains uninterfered with by later works, has
its scarps smooth and sharply cut. The entrance is through the centre of one end.
In front the ground has been much interfered with by quarrying. Here again the
features do not suggest a prehistoric origin, but whether this fort is Roman or
mediæval, excavation alone can decide. The probability is, however, from its exposed
situation, that it belongs to the latter class. Proceeding up Annandale, at Gotterbie
Moor (No. 451) in Lochmaben Parish, we find another small oblong quasi-rectangular
fort. The entrance in this case is not in the centre but towards one side of the
south-east end, and, 20 feet in front of it extending divergently past it, is a deep
irregularly excavated hollow, more like a quarry-hole than a trench. The situa-
tion of this construction in a depression of the ground, the slightness of its rampart,
and the water-holding character of its ditch, all militate against the theory of a
Roman origin. Some miles farther north, in the parish of Kirkpatrick-Juxta, is
another small oblong rectangular fort, which merits more attention. This fort,
near the farm of Milton, is situated on a ridge known as Tassie's Height (No. 411),
and is seemingly adjacent to the site of a fort noted by Roy. It has been sur-
rounded by a single rampart of earth of very considerable bulk, though now greatly
spread by cultivation, and with a trench to the outside. The entrance has been
through the centre of one end and has faced the site of an old road which leads up
Annandale, and to which a tentative Roman attribution has in the past been assigned.
The situation of this fort, commanding an extensive prospect from a moderate
elevation, is such as the Roman engineers greatly affected; moreover, the placing
of the axis at right angles to that of the trend of the ridge, as if to face on to a road
passing along it, is an arrangement quite unlike that adopted in native forts. Here
again the spade alone can solve the problem.
Turning to a consideration of the curvilinear forts, and commencing with Niths-
dale, we cannot in this region recognise any arrangement of defences which we can
point to as typical of the district or of any particular period. The principal forts
have for the most part multiple defences of ditches and ramparts, and as a rule are
earthworks. The most impressive fortress in the dale, and also in the county, is Tynron
Doon (No. 609) in Tynron Parish, occupying the summit of an imposing peak. Its bold
ramparts of earth and splintered rock, and the abundant evidence of rock-cutting in
its lowest trench, indicate for it a late origin, presumably in the Iron Age. A similar
characteristic marks the fine fort on Barr's Hill (No. 581) in that part of Tinwald
Parish which may be reckoned for our purpose in Nithsdale. An earthwork which
shows no resemblance to any other fort in the county is that crowning the Castle Hill
(No. 236) above the Dalwhat Glen, some 3 1/2 miles westward of Moniaive. With its
defending terraces, however, it distinctly recalls the fort overlooking the Laggan
Loch in the parish of Glasserton, Wigtownshire. ¹ Another which displays unusual
features is that on Morton Mains Hill (No. 511), Morton Parish. This fort has all the

1 Wigtownshire Inventory, No. 5.


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