A rapid walkover survey was undertaken by members of the local community, including pupils from Ullapool High School and led by Highland Archaeology Services in 2021, at Inverlael Township and shielings. Although known through documentary sources the site located at the south end of Loch Broom was previously unrecorded. This basic survey has plotted the location of 86 structures, 61 walls, 6 kilns and 63 clearance cairns. The largest group of features comprised the main settlement located on the edge of agricultural and forestry ground on the north and south sides of the river Lael, to the east of the modern A835. The remains on the north side of the river are well preserved, with several courses of stonework surviving for most of the buildings. Several enclosures of various sizes are also visible, including three distinctive bullet-shaped enclosures. There are also short terraces of two and three buildings, some with apparently associated long plots or small enclosures. A mill building and lade was discovered on the south side of the river, as well as a large kiln with possibly associated track linking it to the mill building. Nearby bridge footings show where these structures were linked to the main part of the settlement. Also by the river is the Mausoleum of the Colin Mackenzie of Coul, which is situated on a distinctive mound which may be a moot hill or prehistoric cairn. Another notably large cairn may also be prehistoric in origin. A small area of settlement on the south side of the river is less well preserved, and may represent an earlier settlement phase.
Several shieling structures and a possible smithing area were recorded in upland areas of the glen. Further structures were noticed but not recorded, and further survey in this area would be beneficial. A still site was also identified, which may have been in sporadic use over many decades. Recommendations have been made for a targeted excavation programme, and a complimentary project to seek out and record additional shieling remains. <1>
Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: McKeggie, L.. 2021. Lost Inverlael: Finding Balblair: Rapid Community Walkover Survey: Data Structure Report and Recommendations. Highland Archaeology Services. 28/09/2021. Digital. [Mapped features: #12816 ; #12817 ; #12832 Survey areas, ]
Find a placename, postcode or grid reference
The map is limited to 3000 records per layer so not all records are being displayed for this area. Zoom in to see more.
Inverlael, Loch Broom
Centred NH 1979 8526 (4096m by 1852m)
ROSS AND CROMARTY
ROSS SKYE AND LOCHABER
Related Monuments/Buildings (0)
Record last edited
Oct 13 2022 5:08PM
Comments and Feedback
Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.