MHG61620 - Hut circle - Allt a' Choire Mhoir [F]


A hut circle at Allt a' Choire Mhoir in Glen Loth.

Type and Period (1)

  • HUT CIRCLE (Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

One of a group of 6 hut circles at the southern end of several hut circle clusters in Glen Loth. Originally recorded by the OS as hut circle NC91NW1 [F] but subsequently re-catalogued in the old SMR as NC91NW57 [F]. This may actually be the remains of two overlying hut circles (see below).

(NC 914 183) Hut Circles and Enclosures (NR) (6 shown A-F)
OS 6"map, (1964)

On the left bank of the Allt a' Choire Mhoir, about 1 mile above its junction with the Helmsdale River near Kilournan on the S side of the Strath, are a number of circular enclosures. The first ('C') about 3/4 mile up the glen is ill-defined with a wide entrance in the E; it has probably been for cattle. There are two other enclosures in the vicinity ('F' is 180.0m W of 'C' and 'B' is 45.0m NNW of 'C'). At the upper end of the group is a well-preserved hut circle ('A'); adjacent to it is a small mounded construction presumably a kiln. (Two further enclosures are now included with NC91NW 6 and 4).
RCAHMS 1911.

A total of six hut circles and enclosures including those described by the RCAHMS and two more ('D' and 'E') were encountered during OS field investigation. Numerous heather-clad stony mounds in the area are probably field clearance heaps.
Visited by OS (J L D) 31 May 1961.

On a NE-facing slope is a settlement of six hut circles ('A'-'F') nd an associated field system. Four of the huts ('C'-'F') have been overlaid and obscured by later cultivation in the form of run-rig and clearance. The entrance to each hut, where visible, is in the E or SE arc.
The best preserved, 'A', is of massive construction, measuring 10.5m within a wall 1.2m interior height, spread to 3.0m wide, but broadening to 4.0m at the entrance. Occasional inner and outer facing stones are apparent. 'B' is 11.0m internal diameter, again with the wall spread widening from 2.5m to 4.0m at the entrance. There is a clearly visible stone revetment on the S and E sides.
Huts 'C' and 'D' are oval, each measuring approximately 12.5m by 9.5m internally, but they are so mutilated by later work that no structural details can be positively identified. E is 10.5m in diameter internally, the wall being completely destroyed by later agricultural intrusion in the SE arc.
Abutting either side of the hut's entrance in the ENE is an unusually placed annexe, measuring 10.5m x 3.0m. It is largely obscured by later run-rig. A later clearance heap lies within the hut. 'F' measures about 10.0m in diameter internally. It has been so denuded and overlaid by peat that no structural details can be observed. A curving tumbled bank extends from the W arc for 9.0m.
The field system occupied 35 hectares of gently sloping hillside. It survives in the NW where scattered clearance heaps and boulder-formed dykes can be seen; these latter may not be contemporary with the huts, and they do not appear to enclose parcels of land.
Recent cultivation of the SE half of the system has destroyed any cohesive pattern in this area, save in the extreme S around hut A, though undoubtedly some of the clearance heaps and field walls are associated with the huts.
Revised at 1/10,000.
Visited by OS (J B) 7 May 1976.

291378 918200 Glen Roth 9 JAN049: The hut circle was visited by A Welti and A MacInnes in 2009 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 sub-rectangular stone structure is one of a group of around 14 HCs sited in Strath Kildonan. Some of these are oval, some circular. In the wider area in the vicinity of the Strath there are numerous other similar stone structures interpreted as brochs, cairns and groups of hut circles. JAN049 sits in a gently NE sloping grazed landscape, surrounded by field walls and some clearance cairns. Surrounding vegetation is mostly grass with some rushes. Inside the structure vegetation is similar. The HC is in poor condition. It sits on a platform built out from the slope and has panoramic views inland. A few wall facings are visible although the inner face is indistinct. The HC is 200m from a stream and 1800m from the navigable river Helm which flows eastwards. Measuring In a N/S direction the inner diameter is 17.3m and outer diameter is 21.2m. Measuring E/W the inner diameter is 11.8m and the outer diameter is 15.0m. Double skinned wall thickness is 1.8m with maximum height 0.3m. A possible entrance faces NE with passage width 1.0m both internally and externally. Passage length is 1.2m. An enclosure wall is adjoined to the wall of the structure at the SE corner. JAN049 is 50m from JAN048 (see MHG) and 100m from JAN052 (see MHG). <1> <2>

[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].

Analysis of aerial photographs taken in 1999-2001 and 2009 suggests that this structure is probably the remains of two overlying hut circles, both approximately 15m in outer diameters. <3> <4>

GIS spatial data amended in 2020 to location as shown on 2009 APs.

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NC 9137 1821 (24m by 27m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC91NW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish KILDONAN

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