MHG50626 - First World War Practice Trenches, Rhicullen


A run of trenches interpreted as First World War practice trenches.

Type and Period (1)

  • PRACTICE TRENCH (Constructed, First World War - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NMRS Report: (08/05/2007 07:42:35)
NH67SE 61 6972 7205 (Centred)

Short stretches of practice trenches, which are of varying design and are situated to the NW of Rhicullen, have been recorded on oblique aerial photography (RCAHMSAP 2007). The trenches are probably of First World War date.
Information from RCAHMS (VLW) 27 April 2007 <1>

As described above. First depicted on the 25" OS map c.1974 (epoch 5a) extending further to the SW than current OS mapping suggests. The trench is (incorrectly) annotated as 'drain' on both the 1974 and current 6" and MasterMap OS mapping. The focus of the trenches appears to have been the flat ground to the NW, with access, service and supply trenches feeding the main stretch from the E and SE. Some sections are c.1.5m deep with parts apparently strengthened with rubble. <2> <3>

Jim Bone advises that the Evanton Oral History Project makes reference to trench digging in the Cromarty Firth Naval Base area: "The 4th (Ross and Cromarty) Battalion Seaforths, a Territorial unit, were employed at the outbreak of [World War I] to dig trenches around the Cromarty Firth Naval Base, then sent to Bedford and on to France." <4>

The practice tranches at Rhicullen comprise three groups of earthworks. That to the SE (NH 69545 72062) appears to be a possible mortar emplacement with two communication trenches to the E.
The best preserved trench system lies c.150m to the W on the crest of a slight ridge and comprises a zig-zag trench with at least seven communications leading downhill to the E. The surviving earthworks of the trench extend for 170m SW-NE (NH 69297 72007 to NH 69412 72137). The SW end has been truncated by earth moving and c50m of trench system has been lost.
A poorly preserved third group lies 440 to the NW. This group of three lines of zig-zag trenches linked by communication trenches has been affected by the earth moving with the construction of a reservoir in the early 1970's and a later water pipeline. Lengths of the trenches can be seen, some as deep as 1m.
Visited by RCAHMS (AKK) 12 October 2012.

As shown on available aerial photos (1999-2001) there also appears to be a smaller, isolated, block of trenches some 150m directly to the east [IS-L 11/07/2013].

The trenches lie about 3.5km NNW of Invergordon and are almost certainly associated with the training camp of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders near the town.
Recorded as part of HS/RCAHMS World War One Audit Project 2013. <5> <6>

The practice trenches were Scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland in 2017. <7>

GIS spatial data amended in 2018 according to 2009 vertical Aps. <8>

GIS spatial data added 2019 for the NW area of trenches, copied from data supplied by AKK from RCAHMS World War One Survey Project. <9>

Sources/Archives (9)



Grid reference Centred NH 6924 7225 (654m by 619m) (3 map features)
Map sheet NH67SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish ROSSKEEN

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