MHG35082 - Shieling settlement - NE Slope of Ben Hiant (Lag an Fhiodha)


A shieling settlement and associated(?) features on the NE Slope of Ben Hiant (Lag an Fhiodha).

Type and Period (4)

  • SHIELING SETTLEMENT (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • SHIELING HUT (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • WELL (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • CAIRN? (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A shieling settlement and associated(?) features on the NE Slope of Ben Hiant (Lag an Fhiodha).

What may be three unroofed shieling-huts are depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire 1875, sheet xxv), but they are not shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1974).
Information from RCAHMS (SAH) 6 May 1998

The site was visited and recorded by J Haylett and others in April 2014 during a long-running survey of archaeological sites in Ardnamurchan. A group of structures in a hollow in the hillside which may be a shieling settlement. However, some are very substantial, larger than 'normal' shieling huts, and built of much more rock. From Bald's 1806 map, it would appear that they stand on Tornamona land. The survey recorded 4 shieling huts, 3 cairns or shieling huts, a well, an unstructured but unnatural pile of stones and a stone setting termed a 'grave':

Structure 549643.01: (NGR 154923 764311) 10m in diameter: Tucked under a rock outcrop, there seems little structure to this pile of stones, but it is NOT natural.

Structure 549643.02: (NGR 154929 764361): Cairn or shieling hut: What appears to be a moss-covered cairn – but it has a dip in the centre which suggests that it may have been a circular, walled structure which has collapsed inwards.

Structure 549643.03: (NGR 154924 764401): Cairn or shieling hut: A lozenge-shaped pile of stones which is unlikely to be a cairn and more likely to be some sort of building, possibly a shieling hut – though shape is unusual. The number of stones is substantial.

Structure 549643.04: (NGR 154932 764415): Shieling hut: The structure is in two parts .04A and .04B. .04A is on the south side. It is a circular structure, with a well-built wall backing onto the hill slope and a lower wall on the other sides, making a horse-shoe shape. Diameter is about 5m. .04B is attached on the north side, a 3m diameter typical shieling hut structure, though the wall is higher than most.

Structure 549643.05: (NGR 154915 764407): Uncertain feature: Called 'the grave', this has two juxtaposed vertical slabs at the NW side, and a vague rind of stone of which these form part.

Structure 549643.06: (NGR 154967 764383): Cairn or shieling hut: A moss-covered mound of stones up to .75m high, but 'sunk' in the middle, suggesting this might have been a walled structure which has collapsed inwards.

Structure 549643.07: (NGR 154957 764430): Shieling hut: An oval-shaped stone base to a shieling hut situated on flat land in a slight hollow in the hillside. Long axis trends roughly N-S. No sign of an entrance.

Structure 549643.08: (NGR 154958 764355): Well: The well is located in an area of marshy land in the middle of the shieling. When first found, it appeared as an area of vegetation covering water which wobbled up and down; this was roughly
circular, of 1m diameter. A stick poked down suggested it was about 70cm deep. We returned on 03/05/14 to excavate the well. The unstable area was observed to be considerably more extensive, in a band which ran down-slope (roughly east), distinguished by lacking the marsh grass which was prolific to north and south. To the west, the land rose quickly and was covered in ordinary grass. The circular area of floating vegetation was removed revealing, to the west, a bank of scree-like rubble through which water percolated quickly into the well area. There was some evidence that this had been cut into to deepen the well and allow the water to enter. To confirm this, a west-east trench was dug slightly to the south through the same bank, which showed that, under the soil profile, the scree material ran uniformally down-slope. The well filled within half an hour of being left.

Structure 549643.09: (NGR 154938 764348): Shieling hut: An almost circular shieling hut area on a slightly raised platform which is currently covered in marsh grass and is typical of a number of other sites around the area.

Structure 549643.10: (NGR 154937 764375): Shieling hut?: A mound which shows every sign of being the site of a shieling hut, though no stone circle remains. It is one of several sites in the area with similar possibilities. <1>

GIS spatial data (and NGRS given above) created in 2019 according to location of features as seen on 2013 vertical Aps. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NM 5494 6437 (60m by 129m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NM56SW
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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