MHG18775 - Farmstead, Doirean Rairidh


A small settlement or farmstead, probably pre-clearance in origin.

Type and Period (1)

  • FARMSTEAD (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A farmstead comprising two unroofed buildings, one of which is attached to an enclosure, is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Sutherland 1878, sheet lix) and on the current edition of the OS 1:10,000 map (1992).
Information from RCAHMS (SAH) 5 Sepmtember 1995

The settlement at Doirean Rairidh is mentioned in the 1811 census in which one family is listed, that of Alexander MacLeod. It is likely that he was a shepherd installed around 1806, at the same time as Donald Rutherford as installed at Poll Tigh a' Charraigein. The style of the houses here suggests that the settlement pre-dated this occupation.
During a walkover survey in February 1999 this settlement was seen to comprise two dwellings, enclosures and dykes:
1. West dwelling, of rough rubble construction with rounded corners. It is aligned E-W and measures 4.5m by 3.8m, with a door in the south wall. The walls now stand no more than 1m high.
2. East dwelling, of similar construction to the first but measuring 6.6m by 2.4m and aligned NW-SE. A short section of enclosure wall curves eastward from the NE wall. To the SW is an enclosure measuring 5m by 8.5m, D-shaped and making use of the step of rock in front of the dwelling for its back.
3. Two sections of turf and stone dyke run, approximately 50m apart, NNE-SSW to the shore of the loch to the east of the dwellings. <1>

The farmstead at Doirean Rairidh was surveyed by Historic Assynt.
Doirean Rairidh consists of two buildings and a small enclosure situated on a steep SSW facing slope above the narrows where Loch Doirean Rairidh and Loch Gleannain Shalaich meet. There is little good ground and few signs of cultivation. The site is very exposed and the narrowing where the Lochs meet creates a WNW – ESE wind tunnel. It is difficult to see why anyone would have chosen the site for a house, especially when there is what appears to be much better land (possibly a former shieling) and possible house sites at the NW end of Loch Gleanain Shalaich over half a mile away. The only record of the farmstead is in the 1811 census when it was occupied by four members of the family of ‘Alexr. MacLeod’.

Measured sketches were made of the buildings and enclosure, but will here only be described by comparison with very similar structures at nearby Loch Beannach.

Byrehouse R (NC 15301 27822) has been built on a small terrace with steep rock faces to N and NE. It closely resembles houses D, G, J and O at Loch Beannach, has semi-circular ends and survives to six or seven courses of rough drystone build. It is aligned NW – SE with an entrance in the N wall of the lower SE byre end. The whole building is 10.50m long internally and tapers from 3.20m wide at the domestic end to 3.50 wide for the byre. A dyke extend north eastward from the middle of the NE wall for 10 m and then east for another 10m before petering out. The SW wall is built on top of steep rock face below which is a sub rectangular enclosure (Kaleyard?) approx 115m square.

Outbuilding R1 is situated further down the steep SW slope at NC 15266 27821, aligned E - W and is of similar build to the house. It measures 7m x 2.5m internally with a central doorway in the S wall outside which the ground drops steeply towards the loch. Internally to the west of the door a rough semi circular foundation enclosing an area 1.5m sq adjoins the S wall and another similar foundation adjoins the first one to the N. They are most likely later sheep pens but could be the remains of a small drying kiln. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NC 15302 27815 (180m by 120m) (Centred)
Map sheet NC12NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish ASSYNT

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (1)

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.