MHG58553 - Cairns, Slisneach


Cairns, Slisneach

Type and Period (1)

  • CAIRNFIELD (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

These sites were recorded by NOSAS in 2008/9 as part of an archaeological survey of outer Loch Hourn.

Slisneach is an exceptional area, facing both north onto Loch Hourn and west onto the Sound of Sleat, which lies at the mouth of the loch. Whereas the limit of the loch on its north side is rather vague - though generally accepted locally to be Sandaig (Billy Mackenzie, pers. comm.) - there is no mistaking its southern limit at Rubha Ard Slisneach. After Culloden, Slisneach was not forfeited, but Inverguseran, the next farm to the south was. Slisneach was occupied at this time as a wadset, held by a son of Macdonnell of Scotus (Munro 1984). Today, Inverguseran is a thriving sheep farm, of which Slisneach forms a small part.

Site 1050. A series of cairns on the storm beach, which at first appear to be modern field clearance. The cairns cover an area of 300m x 50m; generally they measure about 1m in diameter and stand to 0.3m high. They are made up of small cobbles, indistinguishable from those on the rest of the storm beach, which have lichen on their underside. JW notes: there are as many as 125 of these cairns spread over quite a large area of level, stable storm beach. The lichen growth appears to have accreted over many hundreds, possibly thousands of years. Interpreting these cairns as clearance has difficulties, in that some of the cairns have several tonnes of stone in them and are positioned close to the sea, up to 50/60m from the edge of the fields and the shoreline track. It is unlikely that any pony either with creels on its back or pulling a small cart would have obtained traction over the loose beach stones and people likewise, carrying stones in creels, would have found it a huge task. Why bother to carry stones out onto a stony beach and place them in cairns? These cairns remain a mystery worthy of further research. <1>

NGR adjusted based on 2010 AP’s <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NG 7477 0889 (98m by 199m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG70NW
Civil Parish GLENELG
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (0)

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