MHG62254 - Shieling huts - Ben-a-cheilt


Two small circular buildings and three stone-based peat-covered mounds, probably a shieling, were identified on the SE side of Ben-a-cheilt.

Type and Period (1)

  • SHIELING (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Site visits, field survey, description plans and photography were undertaken as part of Scotland's Rural Past Ben-a-cheilt project. A hut circle (see MHG58509) is situated in rough grazing and heather on a gently sloping terrace on the SE side of Ben-a-cheilt and beside it are two smaller circular buildings and three stone-based peat-covered mounds. The group lies at c170m OD and may represent the re-use of an earlier site as a shieling ground. Immediately E of the hut circle, at ND 20229 36344, is a small circular feature with stone foundations, measuring 4m in external diameter over walls 0.6m thick. There is a quantity of tumbled stone both inside and out, overgrown with turf and heather. This feature is probably a shieling hut, associated with the farming practice of moving livestock to higher ground during summer months, but it has also been suggested that it may have been a shooting butt. Immediately W of the hut circle, at ND 20234 36337, is a second smaller circular structure, similar to the possible shieling hut just described. Close by, there are three stone-based peat covered mounds at ND 20238 36363, ND 20248 36372 and ND 20257 36365. <1>

Most of the grid references in <1> are incorrect. Those for the two possible shieling huts place them both to the south of the hut circle, though the first mentioned also appears to be c.11m to the south of its position on vertical APs. Those for the mounds are also c.11m to the south of their AP positions but are in the correct relative positions to each other with the centre of the group being c.21m to the northeast of the hut circle. The possible shieling hut measuring 4m in diameter appears to be the feature immediately to the south of the hut circle at NGR 320234 936347. However, the second, smaller, hut is not immediately visible on APs. There is, however a feature 17m to the north of the hut circle at NGR 320227 936380 which looks like a shieling hut. In case it is not the feature described in <1> it has been given its own record (see MHG62255) [IS-L 12/05/2021].

GIS spatial data created in 2021 according to features as seen on 2009 vertical APs. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred ND 2024 3636 (41m by 46m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND23NW
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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