MHG24348 - Fish hatchery - Alltan Leacach


Possible fish hatchery - Alltan Leacach

Type and Period (2)

  • FISH HATCHERY (19th Century - 1801 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • SHIELING? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NH18SE 17 1660 8479

What may be an unroofed shieling-hut is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Ross-shire & Cromartyshire 1881, sheet xxxv) and on the current edition of the OS 1:10560 map (1969).
Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 19 February 1996.

Meryl Marshall of NOSAS conducted a survey of the site on 15 July 2017 and 8th Nov 2018.

Fish Hatchery.
A 19th century fish hatchery comprising a building and three dams was located in the upper reaches of the Alltan Leacach on glebe land above and to the west of Clachan Church. Dundonnell Estate is adjacent to the NW of the watershed. A building at GR NH 1660 8479 has been previously recorded - Canmore ID 103231 - HER MHG24348 and is marked on the 1st edition OS map of 1896 as a single ruin, but yet historical and local information has it that there was a roofed building here in the 1920s. Information from local people and the keeper on the Dundonnell Estate, a sketch of the building in the 1920s by Muriel Foster and her fishing diary “Days on Sea, Loch and River” between 1913 and 1928, have been helpful in enabling an interpretation of the building and the dams to be made. It is believed that there were 2 phases of use; first as a hatchery for rearing fish c1870 when the Dundonnell Estate was developed and leased for “Sporting activities” and then from preWW1 years to the 1960s when it was used by fishing tenants. Local people also reported that the minister had stayed here when the manse was let out to fishing tenants.

The remains of the building, and its surroundings are complex and comprise:
- a building with two gable ends both with fireplaces and chimneys
- various quarried rock faces including a rectangular quarried recess with the footings of a chamber within
- an elevated platform to the SW of the building with a small chamber attached at its NW end.
- Two watercourses one on each side of the building, both of which have been diverted
The building measures 12.5m x 4m overall, is aligned N-S and sits on a platform below a quarried rock face 2m high. It comprises two compartments;
• The N compartment is part of the original phase of the site seen on the 1st Edition OS map of 1896 as a ruin. It has substantial surviving stonework and measures 7.5m x 4m. The walls are up to 2m height although the N gable survives complete and is approx. 2.8m high. The compartment has an entrance with a doorstep (groove and carved socket for post was noted), a fireplace with lintel and a splayed window. The quarried faces, elevated platform with small chamber and the original watercourse extending eastwards to the south of this building may also have been part of the first phase.
• The second phase involved the addition of a timber compartment with a stone gable (now free standing) to the south of the original building and “overlapping” it. This compartment measured 8.5m x 4m and had an off-centre doorway, represented by a slab 0.9m x 0.3m. A culvert under this compartment ducts water which exits under the platform to the east, this culvert was probably part of the first phase.
An assortment of corrugated iron, timber, metalwork and other debris lies within the building.
Several quarried faces between 0.5m and 2m in height are located to the west of the building. The elevated platform to the SW of the building appears to be made up of “spoil material” from the quarrying. It is 1.5m in height on a NE-SW alignment, roughly 4m x2m; at its NE end there is a small chamber roughly 1.2m square covered by a large slab. To the NW of the platform a rectangular quarried recess has the stone footings of a small rectangular chamber; this measures c3.5m x 1.5m and may have been a tank for the fish. Water courses originally running down both sides of the site have been dammed and diverted so that their course is now further away from the building. <1>

NGR adjusted based on 2015 aerial photographs. <2>

Note; a fourth dam is associated with the fish hatchery - see MHG62664 (T.Blackie 4/11/22)

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NH 1659 8478 (30m by 29m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH18SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish LOCHBROOM

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