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Record details

Type of record:Monument
Name:Shieling, Aldsporran


A "forest shieling" within the bounds of Drumochter Forest. A small square stone structure nearby was probably associated.


Aldsporran shieling site  © David Taylor, 2011External drainage channel  © David Taylor, 2011Building length and L-shaped end  © David Taylor, 2011Square stone structure  © David Taylor, 2011Water outlet  © David Taylor, 2011
Grid Reference:NN 622 792
Map Sheet:NN67NW
Civil Parish:LAGGAN

Monument Types

  • SHIELING (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • STILL? (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GROUSE BUTT? (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Other References/Statuses

  • Historic Environment Record: MHG55071

Full description

This was a ‘forest shieling’ built within the bounds of Drumochter Forest. It is situated on the west side of Drumochter, and north of the summit. It is 5-10 minutes walk beyond Balsporran Cottage car park. Follow track signed to Geal Charn, then cut across to a green oasis in the heather, crossing a small burn.

Shieling House
There is one solitary building, total length 12 m, and 3 wide. It has a substantial stone foundation. It must have been a cruck-framed house. It has an internal division, with the main house / room being 8m, with an end room / outbuilding of 4 metres. It is not clear if there was internal access to this end room. The south-east end of the dwelling has the Badenoch L-shaped compartment – 3m long and 1m wide.

Unknown structure
Across the burn to the north of the house, and only about 30 metres away lies a structure that looks initially like an up-market shooting butt (and may have been used as such later). A small square stone structure, app 1.5m square inside, very well built with flat slab stone, and dug into the ground. Closer inspection revealed a well-constructed water outlet in the north-east corner of the building with a clear drainage channel still 15-18” deep and no more than 6” wide traceable for a few metres beyond the structure (now filled by a rotting sheep carcass which prevented close examination). It could have been a still, but there was no clear trace of a water in-let.

Their proximity and isolation would suggest that these two structures were connected in some way. No other structure could be found anywhere nearby. This territory was used as shielings by Malcolm Macpherson of Crubenmore and Donald Macpherson of Breakachy, both powerful tacksmen in the 18th century who served as foresters to the Duke of Gordon, in the documentary evidence, so some connection with Forest duties / hunting is possible.

Information from David Taylor. <1><2>

<1> Taylor, D, 2011, Unpublished notes on various shieling sites in the Drumochter area (Text/Manuscript). SHG25441.

<2> Taylor, D, 08/2011, Photographs of various shieling sites in the Drumochter area (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG25442.

Related Monument/Building records - none

Related Investigations - none

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