MHG61219 - Hut circle - Breakachy Burn 'G'


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?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A hut circle at Breakachy Burn (Urchany Glen/ Allt na Criche), recorded originally by the OS as hut circle G.

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.
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 elliptical 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. <1>

NH45624 45556 Allt na Criche 1(G) RSJ001. 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 structure is one of a group of 11 roundhouses at Urchany Glen. RSJ001 is in poor condition. 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 almost entirely heather, with some moss. The ring bank with wall facings is partially visible. The platform is built out from a gentle south facing slope with panoramic views inland. The site is 60m from a stream and 450m from a river. 5m from the HC is a mossy spring. Average inner diameter is 9.0m, outer diameter is 13.6m. The double skinned wall is 1.8m thick, with maximum height 0.5m. The possible entrance faces south. A small structure, possible a later sheep pen, is attached on the NNW to the outer wall. At a distance of 5m to the NE are the very ruined vestiges of a further structure, indicated by some curved walling. No measurements were possble for this. RSJ001 is at a distance of 30m from RSJ002 (see MHG61218), 36m from RSJ004 (see MHG) and 40m from RSJ003 (see MHG). <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>

Comparison of the description with what can be seen on the 2013 vertical Aps may indicate that the hut circle may have been smaller (c.11m diameter) originally, but was extended later to the southeast. Alternatively, the 'extension' may have been constructed much later, possibly as a sheep pen. <5>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NH 4562 4556 (22m by 22m)
Map sheet NH44NE
Civil Parish KILMORACK
Geographical Area INVERNESS

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