EHG5908 - Walkover survey - Lost Inverlael: Finding Balblair Project



Highland Archaeology Services Ltd


May-June 2021


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>

Sources/Archives (1)



Location Inverlael, Loch Broom
Grid reference Centred NH 1979 8526 (4096m by 1852m) (3 map features)
Map sheet NH18NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish GAIRLOCH

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

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Record last edited

Oct 13 2022 5:08PM

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