MHG62583 - Hut circle - Allt a' Choire Mhoir [i]


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

Hut circle at Allt a' Choire Mhoir in Glen Loth, originally recorded by the OS as NC91NW6 [B], subsequently renumbered by the OS as NC91NW1 [I].

NC91NW 6 914 184.
Hut Circles and Enclosures (NR). OS 6"map, (1964)

On the left bank of the Allt a' Choire Mhoir, about 1 mile above its junction with the Helmsdale River are a number of circular enclosures. (Only one, 'A' is included in this site; see NC91NW 1 and 24 for the others).
RCAHMS 1911.

The hut circle mentioned by the RCAHMS and two additional huts were encountered during field investigation.
Visited by OS (J L D) 31 May 1961.

Centred at NC 914 184 near the crest of a gently sloping NE facing ridge are three homestead type enclosures (A-C), similar in construction size and plan, being of a 'keyhole' shape, formed by a hut circle and a round-ended sub-rectangular annexe.
The circle of 'A' [subsequently G] is 7.5m in diameter internally with the annexe lying to the N measuring 8.0m x 4.0m internally. The inner face of the hut circle is visible intermittently around the periphery, with the wall being up to 1.0m high internally with an average spread of 2.5m. The entrance to the hut is from the E.
Abutting on the E side of the circle is a rectangular enclosure, formed by a slight earth and stone bank, measuring 19.0m by 14.0m. An old field wall in a similar state of preservation to the latter runs across the hill from the W arc of the circle.
The circle of 'B' [subsequently H] measures 9.0m in diameter internally, with the annex lying to the N being 8.5m by 4.5m internally.
Occasional inner facing stones are visible in the hut circle and annexe. The wall has an average spread of 2.0m widening to 3.0m at the entrance in the E where three portal stones line the N side of the gap. Internally, to the S of the entrance, are the remains of a small, later shelter. An old field wall, which has possibly abutted the hut circles SE arc, runs S for 8.0m, thence curves round towards the N passing in front of the entrance at a distance of 6.0m. This bank continues NE past and close to 'C'. It then turns sharply SE for about 38.0m to end in marshy ground. This wall is probably of a later period than the enclosures as it appear to delineate an area of narrow rig cultivation. The circle of 'C' (subsequently [I]) measures 8.5m in diameter internally with the annexe lying to the NNW measuring 10.0m by 4.0m. The wall with occasional inner facing stones evident has an average spread of 2.0m widening to 3.5m at the 'clubbed' entrance in the ENE now choked with debris. A small quarry pit abuts the hut circle internally in the S.
See NC91NW 1 for details of the field system.
Re-surveyed at 1:10,560.
Visited by OS (J B) 4 May 1976.

291464 918405 Glen Loth 14 JAN054: The hut circle was visited by A Welti, A MacInnes and A Coombs in 2016 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 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. Two brochs sit within 11000m of this group. JAN054 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 fair condition and sits on a platform built out from the slope with panoramic views inland. The HC is 300m from a stream and 1800m from the navigable river Helm which flows eastwards. The ring bank is visible as are some wall facing stones. The average inner diameter is 9.9m and the outer diameter is 12.6m. The double skinned wall is 1.7m thick with maximum height 0.3m.The definite entrance faces NE, with passage width externally 2.0m and internally 1.5m. Passage length is 3.0m, indicating an extended entrance. An oval bank with dimensions 8mx4m abutts the NW wall of JAN054. This may be the base of a later shieling hut, There are two pits within the structure, one on the east side with diameter 2.5m, and one on the west side with diameter 1.0m. JAN054 is 20m from AW205 (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].

GIS spatial data created in 2022 to location as shown on 2009 APs. <3>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NC 9146 1842 (18m by 28m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC91NW
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish KILDONAN

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