MHG58625 - Fisherman's Bothy - North Cuil


A fisherman bothy, in use until the mid 20th century, was surveyed by the Scotland's Rural Past Project.

Type and Period (1)

  • FISHING BOTHY (Post Medieval to 20th Century - 1560 AD? to 2000 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A desk-based assessment and walkover survey of Cuil, on the shore of Loch Linnhe, Lochaber, was carried out in 2010 by N Malcolm for RCAHMS' 'Scotland's Rural Past Project'. This building is shown on Bedford's marine charts of 1861 and 1867 as well as the 1st and 2nd edition OS maps. It was shown on two of Erskine Beveridge's photographs taken on 14th July 1883. They show that it was much larger than it is now with two doors and two small outlets for smoke and that it was thatched. The seaward corners were square but photographs taken shortly after 1950 show the inland corners to be rounded. Looking at the front (north-east) wall a line can be seen to the right of the right hand window. To the right of this line the bothy was constructed with stones were larger and rounded and to the left they were smaller and more rectangular.It can be conclude that it was originally built with four round corners but due to the seaward end being damaged by a winter storm it had to be rebuilt. This was done in a more modern style.
The inland end had also suffered damage and by the time of the 1950s photograph the walls were shoulder high but there was no roof to this part. The doorway could still be seen and by this time the seaward gable end had been reconstructed to include a chimney. Although there was a hearth at the other end there does not appear to have ever been a chimney here. The style of thatching was different from that of the earlier photographs. The walls were of drystone construction with a little cement added in the late 1960s. By the end of the 1950s the roof was in a very sad state and had to be replaced. At this time it was not possible to obtain thatch or find a thatcher and, therefore, a corrugated iron roof was installed. Three of the four crucks are still in position and the fourth slot is in good condition. Internally it was divided by a wooden partition. The floor was cobbled with a large slate slab at the threshold. On the outside of the building, especially the back, several iron pegs for holding down the thatch could still be seen. The chimney was removed and replaced by an external tubular iron lum which has subsequently been eliminated. It was lived in during the salmon fishing season until the 1950s. Now it is used to store fishing nets and other equipment.
Pont's map of about 1595 shows a fish heading for the mouth of the river Duror and the accompanying text states that the river was good for salmon. It can be presumed that salmon fishing of one sort or another has been carried on for over 400 years. At one time people used to come here to learn how to set out the nets. The traditional bag net is still used although for a shortened season to try to maintain the salmon stocks. The netyard lies to the north-west of the building.
A well shown on the first Ordnance Survey map to the north-west of the bothy can no longer be found. The water level of this well was reputed to rise and fall with the tide. <1> <2>

See HES Canmore record (link below) for the photo discussed above and for site plan.

GIS spatial data created 2018 based on OS Master Map. <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NM 9755 5546 (14m by 12m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NM95NE
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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