MHG61214 - Hut circle - Breakachy Burn (B)
A hut circle at Breakachy Burn (Urchany Glen/ Allt na Criche).
Type and Period (1)
- HUT CIRCLE (Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC? to 560 AD?)
- None recorded
A hut circle at Breakachy Burn (Urchany Glen/ Allt na Criche), recorded originally by the OS as hut circle B.
Depop., cairns, etc.
OS 6"map annotated by A L F Rivet (nd)
Centred at NH 455 455 is a settlement of ten stone-walled huts and a field system.
Hut 'E' is circular, the remainder are oval. Except for 'A', 'G' and 'H' the measurements are given between wall centres.
Hut 'A', set into a SW-facing slope, is visible as a platform measuring about 12.0 m NNW-SSE by 10.0 m trans- versely, bounded by a stony build-up round the SW arc and a back scarp. The entrance is in the SSE at the change of slope.
'B', set into a W-facing slope, measures about 10.5 m NW- SE by 9.0 m transversely with the wall spread to about 2.5 m. The 'simple' entrance is in the SE, at the change of slope.
'C', adjacent to 'B', measures about 12.5 m N-S by 10.0 m transversely with the wall spread to about 2.5 m all round. The outer wall face is visible round the E arc. The 'simple' entrance, about 1.0 m wide, is in the S, at the change of slope.
'D', at the base of a knoll, measures about 10.0 m from the NNW
through the 'simple' entrance in the SSE by about 9.0 m transversely with the wall spread to about 2.5 m all round. The outer wall face is visible round the S arc. Attached to the W arc of the hut and following the curve of the wall of the hut is an elongated enclosure measuring approximately 10.0 m long by 2.5 m wide within a stone wall spread to about 1.5 m. There is no apparent entrance. It is similar in appearance to the 'souterrains' described on NJ 40 SW 3. (See 1:250 plan.)
'E', built up on a S-facing slope, measures about 6.5 m in diameter with the wall spread to about 2.0 m. The entrance is not apparent.
'G' has the outer wall face visible round most of the perimeter giving overall measurements of 13.5 m NNW-SSE by 12.0 m transversely. The wall is spread to about 2.0 m all round. The S arc has been robbed and the entrance is not apparent.
'H' has the inner wall face evident round most of the perimeter giving internal measurements of 10.0 m NNW-SSE by about 8.0 m transversely. The wall is spread to an indeterminate thickness. The entrance is not apparent.
'J' is denuded and measures about 9.0 m NW-SE by 8.0 m
transversely with the wall spread to about 2.0 m all round. The entrance is not apparent.
'K', set into an E-facing slope, measures about 13.5 m
N-S by about 11.5 m transversely with the wall spread to some 2.5 m all round. Stone clearance has been piled over the W arc. The 'simple' entrance, about 1.3 m wide, is in the S at the change of slope.
About 15 m NE of hut 'K' is a circular hollow, about 6.0 m in diameter, with traces of walling round the edge. Stone clearance has been piled within.
The field system, partly overlaid by a depopulated steading, is
marked by stone clearance heaps, lynchets and walls forming fields varying in size from about 15 m by 10 m to about 50 m by 30 m.
Divorced survey at 1:10,000.
Visited by OS (R L) 17 March 1970
(Name: NH 4555 4550) Settlement & Field System (NR)
OS 1/10,000map, (1975)
This unenclosed settlement comprises the remains of four oval stone-walled houses and two scarped platforms which may represent the sites of timber houses. In the vicinity there are several other platforms of unknown function and also extensive remains of stone clearance, some of which may be of relatively recent date.
The suggested enclosure attached to hut circle 'D;, at NH 4550 4545 is almost certainly the line of a collapsed souterrain. Otherwise, the hut circles and field system are as described by OS surveyor.
Visited by OS (J M) 11 February 1981
This site was visited multiple times by R Spencer-Jones of NOSAS between March and June 2013. All but three of the hut circles were identifiable due to heather burning at the site (for grouse) which had made the majority of hut circles more visible. The three that were unlocated were A, J and K. The others were described as follows:
Hut B - [NH 45453 45379] The walls were only partially identifiable and were best preserved in the SW quadrant where they are spread to 2.3m and stand to 0.2m in height. The hut was deeply embedded in heather and was only just visible. The general shape was oval and it abouts hut C on the southern edge. The internal diameter across the longest NNW axis measured 10.1m x 7.6m. The external diameter measured 12.7m x 10.9m. There was a possible entrance to the south east.
Hut C - [NH 45459 45367] The walls were only partially identifiable and were best preserved on the eastern, upslope, side, where they were spread to 2.5m and stood to 0.2m in height. Again, this hut was deeply embedded in heather and was only just visible. The general shape was oval and it abuts hut B on its northern edge. The internal diameter across the longest N axis measured 10.8m x 8.1m. The external diameter measured 14.2m x 12.5m. There was a possible entrance to the south.
Hut D - [NH 45507 45451] The walls were indistinct in the south west and best seen in the east where they are spread to 1.5m and stand to 0.5m in height. Located on a gentle west facing slope, at the base of a mound to the north lies this large hut circle, with an ellipse of stone wall to the west, ie down-slope. In the original 1970 survey this is described as a souterrain, confirmed by a further OS visit in 1981. What remains of this structure is an ellipse of stones, approx 3.5-4m outwith the western side of the original hut circle. They now don't look like a souterrain, although their function is now unclear. There is a path, probably animal track, that runs through the northern part of the circle, exposing the base. The general shape is circular. The internal diameter measured 7.5m x 6.7m. The external diameter measured 10.6m x 10.2m. There was a possible entrance to the SSE.
Hut E - [NH 45601 45501] The remaining walls are best seen to the west where the remains are 1.4m thick and stand 0.3m high. Located on a gentle east facing slope, it occupies a slight knoll with a built extension to the south. The recent burning had exposed a degenerated circle of stones that could other wise have been missed. The general shape was circular. The internal diameter measured 4.7m x 4.1m. The external diamteter measured 7.5m x 7.5m. An entrance was not identifiable.
Hut F - [NH 45595 45562] The remaining circular walls are indistinct apart from in the west and south east quadrants. Located on a gentle south facing slope, it has a definite entrance and entrance passageway consisting of two lines of rough large stones to the south which measured 1.3m in length, 1.5m in width and with stones standing 0.8m in height. The recent heather burning had exposed a degenerate circle that would otherwise have been missed. The general shape was circular. The internal diameter measured 7.3m x 9.75m on the north-south axis. The internal diameter measured 9.98m x 11.05m.
Hut G - [NH 45624 45556] The remaining, indistinct walls were marked by periodic stones. The wall was best seen in the west where it was spread to 1.8m and stood up to 0.5m in height. Located on a gentle south facing slope, it stands on a platform slightly built out in the south. There was an eliptical extension, or 'annexe' on the north west arc. The recent heather burning had exposed a degenerate circle of stones that would otherwise have been missed. The general shape was circular and there was a possible entrance in the south south east. The internal diameter was 9.0m x 9.0m. The external diameter measured 13.2m x 12.8m.
Hut H - [NH 45664 45540] The remaining walls were very indistinct with very few stones left and one large boulder in the south south west. The hut circle was very indistinct and only visible as a round depression in the peat rather than being easily identifiable by its walls. The recent heather burning had made it easier to see. The general shape was circular and there was a possible entrance in the south. The internal diameter measured 7.5m x 7.5m. The external diameter measured 9.0m x 9.0m. <1>
245453 845379 Allt na Criche 6 RSJ006(B). The hut circle was visited by A Welti and R Spencer-Jones in 2013 as part of research for a dissertation on hut circles in Wester Ross. This was part of a degree course overseen by Aberdeen University. This circular stone strucure is one of a group of 10 roundhouses at Urchany Glen. RSJ006 is in poor condition. It is submerged by heather, as is the surrounding landscape, and only part of the ring bank and some stones are visible. There are 3 duns in the near landscape and a burial cairn is nearby. The HC is adjacent to an enclosure. Evidence of long term agriculture in the area is given by turf and stone field walls, and clearance cairns. The terrain is rough, hilly and rocky. Vegetation inside the structure and in the surrounding landscape is entirely heather. Views are panoramic inland. The vegetation inside the HC and in the surrounding landscape is entirely heather. The site is 200m from a stream and 100m from a river. Inner diameters are 10.1 x7.6m, outer diameters are 12.7 x10.9m. The wall thickness is 2.3m with maximum height 0.2m. The wall structure was not clear. A possible entrance faces SE but no measurements were possible. RSJ006 touches RSJ005 (see MHG61215) with a distance of 15.0m measured centre to centre. RSJ006 is 40m from HS001 (see MHG61219). <2> <3>
[Note: a database was set up as part of research for the dissertation and was subsequently expanded as an extension of the We Digs Project (see website link below). The full access database can be made available to enquirers/researchers if requested - contact HER for details].
GIS spatial data created in 2019 to location as shown on 2009 Aps. <4>
The North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NoSAS) undertook an archaeological survey of Urchany in 2015.
Site H63, OS Hut Circle B. This is one of a pair of hut circles on a west facing slope high above, and looking down on, the Breakachy Burn. It is in an area of deep heather recently planted with new forestry, and therefore separated from the rest of the Urchany site by a new deer fence. Because of the heather, it is difficult to see clearly. The oval structure, aligned NNW-SSSE, 12.7m x 10.9m, consists of a raised bank of heather. The walls are now only partially identifiable, best preserved in the SW quadrant, where they are spread to 2.3m, standing 0.2 m high. There is a possible entrance in the SE quadrant. It abuts H64 on its southern edge (see MHG61215). <5>
- --- SHG2673 Text/Report: RCAHMS. 1979. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of North-east Inverness, Inverness District, Highland Region. . 20, No. 130.
- <1> SHG26508 Dataset/Database File: Spencer-Jones, R.. 2013. Information on Hut Circles at Allt na Criche or Creag Dubh. North of Scotland Archaeological Society. Yes. Digital.
- <2> SHG27403 Text/Manuscript: Welti, A.. 2012. Roundhouses of Wester Ross and parts of Skye. University of Aberdeen. Yes. Digital. RSJ006.
- <3> SHG27404 Dataset/Database File: Welti, A.. 2009-2016. Roundhouses of Wester Ross and parts of Skye: project database. Lochbroom Field Club. Yes. Digital. RSJ006.
- <4> SHG27382 Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph/Vertical: Get Mapping. 2009. Getmapping aerial photography 2009.
- <5> SHG28596 Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Spencer-Jones, R.. 2020. A NoSAS Survey of the Lands of Urchany: A Multi-period Settlement on the Braes West of Beauly: 6th-10th April 2015. North of Scotland Archaeological Society. Digital. p.21,22, Site H63, Figures 31,32 35.
|Grid reference||Centred NH 4545 4539 (20m by 20m)|
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