MHG11103 - Pit or possible kiln, Skelpick Burn


An enigmatic stone-lined pit recorded in the late 19th-century and now lost. The pit may have had an industrial function.

Type and Period (7)

  • KILN? (Unknown date)
  • (Alternate Type) COOKING PIT? (Unknown date)
  • (Alternate Type) STORAGE PIT? (Unknown date)
  • (Alternate Type) ANIMAL TRAP? (Unknown date)
  • (Alternate Type) TANNING PIT? (Unknown date)
  • INDUSTRIAL SITE? (Unknown date)
  • IRON WORKING SITE? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NC75SE 1 75 52.

A pit in the shape of an inverted cone, 7 or 8ft deep and neatly lined with stones was found by Horsburgh on the hill W of Skelpick Burn, but near Skelpick Burn Wood (NC 75 52). It was almost covered by heather and was locally said to have been used for cooking deer, but it is also possible that it was used for storing meat, the carcass being salted and insulated by bracken. Other suggestions are that it was a wolf-trap or, suitably lined, a tan pit (Feachem 1959).
J Horsburgh 1870; R W Feachem 1959. <1><2>

Not found during field investigation. Visited by OS (JLD) 6 5 1960.

No change. Visited by OS (JM) 23 August 1977.

A visitor to the HER website, Mark Stevens, notes that the Blaeu map of StrathNaver (from Atlas Novus c.1642) has several locations, including this one, indicating that iron was mined here: "Mynes of Yron". West of Skail he writes on the map ''Heir is Yron Made'' South west from Skail is Beinn Stumanadh. Pont writes on his map '' Bin Staominy whair is had Iron oare''. He wonders if this site, and others in the area listed on the HER as "possible" corn drying kilns, may be related to the "Yron Mynes". <3><4>

Although this record has been indexed as a possible kiln, the description and diagram in <1> and the discussion in <2> would suggest that this pit had no provision for introducing heat making such an explanation unlikely. However the pit was not fully investigated by Horsburgh. <5>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NC 7500 5200 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC75SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish FARR

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (3)

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