For anyone interested in the understanding the early history of Scotland, a visit to Dunadd Fort in Kilmartin Glen in mid Argyll is a must. Before Edinburgh was its capital, the Perthshire town of Scone was the “principal seat” of Scotland but before that, for 400 years, Dunadd is thought to have been the capital of Dalriada, the kingdom which eventually gave rise to modern Scotland.
Rising dramatically from Moine Mhor, the great moss, Dunadd appears as a rocky outcrop a few hundred metres from the A816 road near Lochgilphead. Near the top of the fort there is a small section of the original stone fortifications still intact and in one of the slabs of rock closer to the summit a bowl has been carved out. Its purpose is unknown but nearby a carved footprint – size 8! - is thought to have been part of the coronation ceremony for the kings of Dalriada. Also carved into the slabs is some ogham text, an early Irish writing format which uses an alphabet comprised of straight lines. Dunadd offers a fascinating and tantalising glimpse into the embryonic origins of modern day Scotland.