Township: Caolas,Milton,Ruaig,Ruaig

Map Reference: Milton 26

Name Type: fort

Meaning: An alias for the Iron Age fort Dùn Mòr a’ Chaolais

The specific is not transparent. One form encourages a derivation from the male ON personal name Ketill. Ketill flatnefr ‘Flatnose’ is described in several sagas as a warlord in the Hebrides in the mid-ninth century (Jennings 1998, 43), identified by some historians as the Caittil Find recorded in the 857 Annals of Ulster. Ketill, however, was a common name in the Norse expansion zone (Macniven 2015, 326). Grammatically Dùn Caittil could be a pure Gaelic coinage, but this is historically extremely unlikely. There is a Kettlester in yell, Shetland (SP); there is a Ketiltangen in Lunner, and a Ketilsmyr in Fyresdal, Norway (NG); and Ketil- is a common element among Icelandic farm names, such as Ketilvellir (SAM).

Other Forms:
Dùn Mòr a’ Chaolais - OS

Downkifil Har., Map of Tiree, reduced from a survey of the island by Langlands, in the possession of His Grace, The Duke of Argyll (Reeves 1854, 233?44)
Downkifil Harbour, 1903, Beveridge 2004, 75
Dun Cìofal, Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 6/2009 (oral source)
Dun Cìteal, Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 3/2006 and 3/2010 (oral source)

Related Places:

Information:Extracts from 'The Gaelic Otherworld' by John Gregorson Campbell, Edited with commentary by Ronald Black, (Edinburgh; Birlinn, 2005) p 38:

A man who went to fish on a Saturday afternoon at a rock in Beinn Chinn a’ bhara (Kenavara Hill, the extreme west point of Tiree) did not make his appearance at home until six o’ clock the following morning. He said that after leaving the rock the evening before he remembered nothing but passing a number of beaches. The white beaches of Tiree, from the surrounding land being a dead level, are at night the most noticeable features in the scenery. On coming to his senses, he found himself on the top of the Dùn at Caolas in the extreme east end of the island, twelve miles from his starting point.

p 74:
Sounds of exquisite music, as if played by a piper marching at the head of a procession, used to be heard going underground from the Harp Hillock to the top of the Dùn at Caolas in the east end of Tiree. Many tunes of little poetical (whatever be their musical) merit said to have been learned from the Fairies are to be heard. One of these which the writer heard seemed to consist entirely of variations upon the word ‘do-lledl’em.’ (Footnote 237)
Footnote 237
The motif is defined by MacDonald (1994-95, p.55) as ‘fairy song (a) or tune (b) overheard and learned.’ Cnoc na Clàrsaich, ‘Harp Hillock’, is at Port Bàn on the eastern tip of Tiree, strongly resembles one summarised by JGC at p. 51 as: “A man who avoided tethering horse or cow on a Fairy hillock...was rewarded by the Fairies driving his horse and cow to the lee of the hillock in stormy nights.” See Spence 1948, pp. 182-84.


The Home Guard built a look out on the west side of this hill - AMcL.

There are two "chimneys" going straight down 15 feet - Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 1/1994.

Old name of Dùn Mòr a’ Chaolais was Dùn Cìteal or Ceteal. His grandfather would say’ “Why do they call it Dun Mor a’ Chaolais. Most of it’s in Ruaig!” Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 3/2006.

His uncle called Dun Mor a’ Chaolais Dùn Cìofal - Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 6/2009.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic, Iron

Informants: multiple

Informant 2: OS

Informant 3: Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 2/1996 and 3/2010