Category: Port Charlotte Primary

Islay Seal





P67 at Port Ellen have been recreating a letter from the time of Dunyvaig castle. They had to imagine a letter that might have been written and had a seal attached.  This is because there was a seal from 1593 discovered at this years dig at the castle; seals were used with wax to seal letters to make them official.  We have been using a seal in class to add to our letters, which we have aged using cold tea.  We melted wax in a spoon over a candle and then used a tree of life seal to imprint in the wax.  We think they look very authentic!

Dunyvaig Letter

We have been learning about Dunyvaig Castle.  Our class did a lot of research and had learned what life was like in Dunyvaig castle.  Also what they wore and what they did in a castle.  We also went to the dig at Dunyvaig and include some of the facts we learned.  After our weeks of research we had to imagine we were someone in a castle writing a letter to a family member or a close friend. When we wrote the letters some of us wrote it from the time 1593 which someone at Dunyvaig found a seal with that date on it.  All of us used all the facts we had learned through are topic about Dunyvaig into our letter and when we went to the dig.  A few people in are class choose a mother or a father but the other people choose some people like Lord Campbell.

Dear Daughter,

I have regretted switching clans this place is falling to bits. Because of those attacks from Lord Campbell. At the moment our leader is planning in the great hall are next attack on the Campbell! So many soldiers have been tacking out of the war and have been sent to the wise woman. If I was them I would not go and see her people have went in with two arms and have come out with one. Our leader is so mad with Lord Campbell.

Today the hunters have come back to the castle with a magnificent deer for dinner tonight. They were very quiet on their horse with the long bow ready to shoot. Everyone was setting the Great Hall up for the feast tonight. The minstrels were ready to sing and dance. At the moment my favourite song is Birlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain.Finaly they have put the dear on the spit over the burning hot fire and ready to eat.

Yesterday we had a terrible storm we needed five men to close the sea gate. All of our Birlinn got destroyed our lead was so annoyed he said “What are we going to do if the Campbell’s attack us we have no escape boats until next week! “When the storm wa s happening all of the women went up to the solar room to sew a tapestry. It was a beautiful tapestry the embroidery thread added some colour into the castle. Currently everyone is really busies since that storm carpenters are making some more Birlinn in case of a battle. And the Black Smiths are making daggers, swords and spears. That is all for now I will keep you up to date with what is happening. 

Your Loving Mother                                                                       




Primary 123 Recreate Dunyvaig Castle

We have all been learning about life in castles at Port Ellen this term following our exciting trips to Dunyvaig Castle to take part in the archaeological dig.  Primary 123 have made their own castles with working drawbridges from paper, and they have been researching what people who lived in the castles did.  Here is a clip explaining their work.


On Wendnesday 29th August we went on a bus to go to Finlaggan. When we got there our class was the first to go and see all of the old buildings and island in the middle of the Loch.  When we were finished outside we went inside to see a lot of old things that the Lords of the Isles would use and other things they used in the medieval times and the family tree of one of the familys that lived there and facts about Finlaggan. When we were done that we got back on the bus but the bus was leaking oil so we had to drive to mundells yard to get a new bus and came back to school.

I enjoyed learning facts about Finlaggan and the best part was when we got there.

Dunyvaig Castle

On the 20th of August P6/7 went to Dunyvaig castle. First we got our water proofs and welly boots and got on the bus to the castle up at Laguvulin. We stopped at the path and walked down a hill where we saw the castle. At the end of the hill there was a big grass hill that was slippery but luckily nobody fell. When we went down we met Darko Markovic who gave us a tour. He showed us a big rock with a hole that someone carved. We all tried to find out what it was some people thought it was to wash their hands.

After that a girl called Lauren showed us some artefacts they have found while digging; they found glass, a smoking pipe, a musket bullet, some bones and a cannonball, which was very interesting. Then we split up and went to different trenches; my group went to the sea gate trench and we had to scrape off crumbs of dirt to make the dirt nice and smooth. You could see lots of different Colors. After that we walked up the hill then the bus came and we went all the way back to school.

Our Trip to Dunyvaig castle

Firstly we were going into school to get ready for Dunyvaig.  We got waterproofs on and then hopped on the bus and went to Dunyvaig. It couldn’t get to the exact location so we had to walk the rest of the way there. Then when we were there a person showed us the castle in Dunyvaig which was built a few hundred years ago. Then in about 300 years it got bombed so now it is a ruin which looks quite cool but you can’t get in it because it is dangerous. But then later then someone showed us some things that they used in that time. The person showed us all the artefacts that they found in Dunyvaig.  They looked old and as well they showed us a huge old cannon ball. It was fired at the war at Dunyvaig which was destroyed in the war and they showed us little things in a bag so it doesn’t break.

And then they showed us the castle but we couldn’t go in it.  The castle had windows a door and even a sea gate where the fish were bought in to the other side of the castle.  There were people transporting things from other countries to trade them for something from Dunyvaig.  And then we had a break and then we started digging for things and I tried to dig and dig. And then I dug even more and more so then my arms would get tried but I kept going but all I found was stones and moss. I had no luck but I was still going then I actually though that they would be a landslide so did the people near me.  And then eventually we had to go back to school so we had to walk up a hill. I felt quite tired going up the hill and at the top the bus was there and we went back to school and had lunch.

Dunyvaig Trench Digging!

On Monday 20th August Port Ellen Primary School went to Dunyvaig to do an archaeological dig. So our school went in separate groups to the dig and we all found something cool but very common to find like rainbow colored slate, quartz and mortar to hold the stone from the castle together. When digging up the trenches you would be very uncomfortable because you’re kneeling on rocks.  We used trowels and shovels and cleared a level.  It was interesting.