MHG45998 - Lochan Torr Na Nighinn


Two structures are first shown on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map. They were subject to excavation as part of the A830 upgrading works.

Type and Period (3)

  • BUILDING (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FARMSTEAD (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BLACKHOUSE? (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NMRS Report: (14/01/2003)
NM68NE 42 centred on NM 6770 8578

Two rectilinear structures, shown as unroofed on the OS first edition 6-inch (Inverness-shire, Sheet CXXI, 1876) and 1: 10 000 (1975) maps, were located during the course of a field survey in advance of a woodland regeneration programme.
The larger structure measures 11m north to south and 6m wide, with its walls surviving to a maximum of 1.5m high and 0.8m thick. The other lies at right angles to the first, and measures 8m long by 4m wide with walls of similar proportions to those of the first.
The corners of both buildings are rounded, a common feature of 'blackhouse' architecture throughout the west of Scotland and the Western Isles.
Information from CFA Report 1994 (No. 161) MS/726/176
Sponsor: Scottish Woodlands Ltd. <1>

The two structures and the 'yard' in between were fully excavated as part of the works on the A830 improvement works. A 19th-century date was suggested by the artefactual material recovered from the two buildings.

Structure A (to the E) measured 9.9m x 4.7m in total and was orientated north/south. It was rectangular in plan with rounded external corners, and squared internal corners. It was situated in a cut hollow, possibly a quarry, with a steep slope to the north and west. Was of a superior building method, with three elements to the walls: an inner and outer skin, and a rubble core. The entire interior of Structure A was probably paved.

Structure B (to the W) was a smaller building, measuring 6.9m x 3.7m and orientated approximately east west. It was rectangular in plan with rounded exterior corners and square internal corners. It has not yet been possible to ascertain definitely the function of Structure B, ie whether or not it was a dwelling house, or a building for animals such as a byre, or a store. The narrow width of the doorway and overall size of the building suggests that it could not have been used for larger animals such as cattle. The lack of window cavities in Structure B may be suggestive of a store, although this remains uncertain due to its dilapidated state.

A number of platforms were recorded in the space between the buildings, It suggests continual flooding across this area, and a revetting wall suggests attempts to prevent the site from flooding on a regular basis.

It is suggested that these houses represent the discontinuity in the archaeological record of Lochaber (and of the wider West Highlands), with previous dwellings being formed of turf and stone. It is suggested that these buildings might represent a result of land improvements following the 1745 rebellion and that de-mobbed soldiers, or other government-friendly plantation settlers may be responsible for their construction on what was marginal land. <2>

Subsequent monitoring of topsoil stripping recorded no additional features. No earlier structures were evident. <3>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NM 6769 8578 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NM68NE
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (1)

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