MHG25470 - Settlement; buildings, well, corn drying kiln, shieling huts? Eilean Rarsaidh


Settlement; buildings (6), well, corn drying kiln, shieling huts? Eilean Rarsaidh

Type and Period (6)

  • SHIELING HUT? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • SETTLEMENT (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • WELL (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • CORN DRYING KILN (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • BUILDING (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • STORAGE PIT (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

What may be two unroofed shieling-huts are depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Inverness-shire 1876, sheet lxii), but they are not shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1971).
Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 26 July 1996.

Eilean Ràrsaidh
This island was visited by NOSAS in 2006 and 2009 as part of an archaeological survey of Loch Hourn.

The island is split between heather covered rock to the west and a much smaller area of generally lower and more fertile ground to the east, sheltered by the higher rocky ground to the west.The whole of the east end of the island is regenerating naturally with native trespecies below which bracken and brambles dominate, but there are large areas where bluebell and wild garlic cover the ground. A deserted settlement was noted during a reconnaissance trip in May 2006. There are approx 8 buildings in the main cluster on the north side of the island, under the lee of low cliffs. Here there is also a fine well in perfect order and a small corn drying kiln. The buildings are in various stages of natural decay. The best of the low ground, c 1.5 hectares, is enclosed by a substantial stone wall and on the east side of this field there are several more small buildings and animal pens. There are cleared landing places on the N, E and W sides of the island, all located towards its east end.

Site 687. Settlement. <1>

NGR adjusted based on 1999-2001 AP’s <2>

1st Edition OS 6" <3>

NOSAS completed a detailed survey in 2009.

This island appears to have been a little self sufficient world all of its own, about which various stories are told (English 2000, 287; Billy Mackenzie, pers. Comm.). It is something of a time capsule as, following its abandonment, the structural remains have principally been subject only to the natural forces of decay. After landing here for a quick reconnaissance in both 2006 and in 2008, we were well aware that the island was very overgrown with rank heather, bracken, brambles and trees. A team of 8 spent a day here in 2009, removing years of dead bracken off the buildings, so that they could be properly recorded and photographed. We surveyed the whole island and carefully plotted all of the cultivation remains.

Site 1273. A well preserved kiln barn, measuring 4m N-S x 1m E-W. The bowl measures 1.8m x 1m and the intact flue is E facing. The W side has been built against the rising ground on the W side of the settlement.

Site 1274. A roughly oval well, 0.5m deep and measuring 1m N-S by 0.8m E-W. There is also a space, measuring 1m x 0.3m, extends under the rock face below which the well is located.

Site 1282. 2 hollows, forming a figure of eight. The more westerly hollow is oval, with a longer N/S axis and is ringed with boulders.

Site 1300. A building, measuring c.3m E-W x 2m N-S internally. Its walls stand to c.1m high and are c.1m thick. Its W side has been built into a natural bank.

Site 1301. A structure measuring c.2m E-W x 3.3m N-S and with an entrance in the E wall. The S end is very tumbled, but in general the walls are c.1m thick. The N, E, and W walls are roughly 8 courses high (c.1m).

Site 1302. A rectangular structure, with a partially collapsed entrance in the N wall. The S wall stands to c.0.8m over 3-4 courses. There is tumble in the E end of the building, while there is a well defined apron of stone c.2m deep to the N of building. A c.0.8m wide ditch runs along the S side of the building.

Site 1303. A rectangular building, lying to the E of Building 1302 and which may be tied into it. It is reduced to low stone footings, 1m thick. The S wall has been built into a bank; this wall is also 1m thick and stands to 0.6m high.

Site 1304. A round-ended building, with a smaller outshot at the E end, now overlain by tumble. The main part of the building measures c.5.5m E-W x 3m N-S internally. The N and W walls have been reduced to tumble, but the S wall still stands to c.1.5m high and the E wall to about 1m in height.

Site 1535. A building, measuring c.3.5m E-W x c.3m N-S internally. It has double faced, drystone walls, standing to c.1m high and has an entrance in SE corner. There is a level platform of similar size, adjoining the W side of the structure. <4>

Note; The above sites relate directly to the settlement in the north east of the island. GIS spatial data amended to location as seen on plan p.21 Fig 5. (T.Blackie 5/9/18)

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NG 8136 1171 (85m by 53m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG81SW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish GLENELG

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (1)

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