MHG57491 - Township, Balnault, Loch Meig


Township, Balnault, Loch Meig

Type and Period (3)

  • TOWNSHIP (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • ENCLOSURE (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • KILN (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Allt Bail an Uillt Shios, Balnault
On the S side of Loch Meig, the remains of the main settlement of Balnault are situated on both sides of the Allt Bail an Uillt Shios, at a point where a delta has formed as it emerges onto the valley floor. Broad flat haughs are seen besides the river, particularly to the west of the settlement, but they are often flooded by Loch Meig. The site is in two sections; a lower part to the east on the delta and an upper part on a terrace to the west. The lower settlement appears on 1st edition OS map (right) and on a photograph of circa1870; it figures in the re-organisation of the estate in 1850 when 6 families were settled here; they were required to build themselves “modern” houses.

Township, Farmstead and Enclosures (715 – 732) - centred on NH 3540 5545 The buildings of the lower settlement have been levelled to the ground, most probably at the time of the flooding of the glen c1957, when the Meig Dam was constructed; much of the site may be flooded at times of high water. The position of many of these buildings is difficult to determine. Little now remains apart from humps, bumps and scatters of tumble. Without the aid of the c.1880 photograph it would have been very difficult to make sense of the remains in their current condition. On the other hand, just to the W, at a higher level and close to the present road, there are the well defined stone footings of 2 buildings and an enclosure on the north side of the road and the substantial remains of a further building and attached enclosure on the south. A stretch of the old road, 710, now abandoned, passes to the north of the settlement and a bridge over the Allt Bail an Uillt Shios, site 711, is largely intact.

Main, lower settlement :
716 Building - NH 35516 55448 On the east bank of the burn, a rectangular building on an E-W axis has external measurements of 11m x 6m. The walls are very wasted and it appears more as depression 0.4m deep. There is tumble internally and a possible dividing wall at the mid point.

715 Bank/retaining wall - centred on NH 35509 55410 To the east of building 716. This steep revetted bank is generally on a N-S axis and in two parts - the north part is 2.5m in height and 18m in length, the south part, the south part is in the form of a recess 1m in height and 4m in length.

717 Building (B1) - NH 35482 55434 This building lies to the west of the burn, its NE corner being c12-13 metres from the burn and c15 metres from the old road. The building appears to be rectilinear in outline and is approximately 10 x 6 metres, roughly aligned East-West. The extensive demolition makes it hard to define the walls accurately but they may stand to c. 0.50-0.75 metres high. The presence of many large stones in the demolition tumble suggests quite substantial walls. There is no evidence for a door or window. There is a natural looking bank running immediately behind the building, as viewed from the North.

718 Building (B2) - NH 35468 55431 Lies approximately 2 metres to the west of building 717, on the same or similar alignment. Building 718 has the same approximate dimensions as 717 and is in identical condition.

719 Building (B3) - NH 35455 55428 Lies 2-3 metres to the W of Building 718, approximate dimensions, on the same or similar alignment and in the same condition.

720 Building (B4) - NH 35441 55421 To the SW of building 719, this building appears to be aligned at right angles to the row of buildings 717-719. Its north wall projects approximately 2-3 metres beyond the building line of the row 717-719. 720 is approximately 5 x 5 metres but the walls are tumbled, but the walls are tumbled up to 0.3m high and very difficult to define clearly. The dyke to the north is 8m length x 0.3m high x 2m thick.

721 Possible Building - NH 35449 55410 There is a hollow behind and to the S of 720. To the S of this there is a length of built wall 3-4 courses high and on a different alignment to 717-720. This may be the rear wall of a fifth building but it is very difficult to make out any evidence for another 3 walls. At NH35447 55418 (C7) there is an area of linear rubble, 27m long tapering from 5m thick from west to east. Other features of note close in this area are:-
1. Slightly to the S of the natural look depression which could be a midden.
2. To the North of 717 there is a ditch with a possible causeway, 2-3 metres in width, to the old road. A large stone lintel at the western side of this feature appears to indicate ditch, forming perhaps one formal entrance to the settlement site.
3. At NH 35478 55389 - NH 35487 55416 (C8) A dry stone retaining wall on prevention. It is 45m, has a height of 2m and becoming eroded at the N end.

722 Enclosure/Possible Platform – Rect distinct east edge with a height of 0.5m.

723 Possible Pit (C4) - NH35411 55434 A rectangular feature 10m (W-E) x 4m, excavated out of the bank to S of 722 and filled with random stones. No obvious entry.

724 Possible Pit (C3) - NH35405 55433 A rectangular feature, south of 725. Contains large stone tumble. No obvious entrance.

725 Possible Building (C2) - NH35397 55444 A stone feature including concrete and brick 6m by 7m. Very much trashed possibly most westerly cottage (from the 1880 photo, it appears as if there is a cottage slightly behind the line of the next three with a barn/byre at right angles to west).

726 Possible Kiln (C1) - NH35390 55428 A possible kiln 30m S of old road with a trackway leading up the bank to SW. This semi circular feature is recessed into the side of the hill on its SW side. The bowl has a diameter of 5m and height at recessed side of 3m. It has large stones up to 0.7m inside.

728 Earthbank and Track - NH 35387 55441 (E end) to NH 35343 55425 (W end) A substantial earth bank with a track on its south side curves up the slope from the main settlement towards the group of buildings to the west. It is 0.8m in height, has a 2m spread at its base and is about 60m long.

West/Upper farmstead of Balnault (adjacent to present road) This part of the settlement does not appear on the first edition OS map and is probably of earlier date than the lower settlement.

729 Building (3.1) - NH 35386 55405 (NE corner) Stone footings of a building 2m north of the motor road. It is 30m E-W x 5m N-S, and the substantial rubble walls are up to 1m. There could be 2 or 3 conjoined buildings but the divisions are unclear. A circular stone mound at the west end has a diameter of 4m, it is 0.6m in height and has a dished central area; a possible kiln.

730 Building (3.2) - NH35378 55401 (SW corner ) The stone footings of a building on the S side of the road NE corner is rectangular and the walls are of large stone 5m x 1m height. N wall could be truncated by the road.

731 Enclosure (3.3) – This enclosure abuts building 730, on its W end and measures 18m (N-S) x 20m (EW). The large stones in the walls are up to 1m high. The site is open to N, probably truncated by new road.

732 Tin hut - NH 35281 55392 This roofed corrugated iron hut is rectangular andN-S and measures 6m x 4m. It has a roofed verandah to the east, 1.7m in width. <1>

Ordnance Survey Mastermap <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NH 3539 5542 (281m by 78m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH35NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish CONTIN

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

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