MHG6285 - Crannog, & Hunting Lodge, Loch Kinellan


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • CRANNOG (Early Iron Age to 19th Century - 550 BC to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

The artificial island in Loch Kinellan, near southern shore, is an irregular ellipse in shape, measuring approximately 70 yards x 47 yards, with a barrier of stones around its perimeter. There is a second barrier at west end, about 15 feet from perimetric barrier. Excavations were carried out from 1914 to 1916 which showed that, structurally, island appears to consist of 3 main series of layers, the base being of logs.
A much damaged dug out canoe has been incorporated in wooden platforms, presumably as 'just another log'.
Just below present surface of island were discovered stone-and-clay foundations of a rectangular building, 18 feet by 28 feet' with some indications of wings'.
The various pits and trenches dug yielded animal and fish bones, objects of iron, wood, stone and leather, and a carved ivory gaming-piece.
The pottery found included C14 & C15 material and a piece of C17 or C18 delft ware.
Crannog was for a long time a hunting-seat of Earls of Ross, one of whom invited Robert the Bruce there. It was from this island that Kenneth MacKenzie went forth and defeated Macdonalds between 1485 and 1488. In C19 island was in use as a kitchen garden.
H A Fraser 1917

This crannog, at NH 4710 5760, measures 76m E to W by 36m N to S and rises about 0.6 metres above water. It is now completely overgrown with bushes and only a small section of walling at west end of perimeter is now visible. When water in loch is low, island is accessible from mainland.
(Info from Canon McKenzie, Kinellan Lodge, Strathpeffer)
Visited by OS (R D) 20 January 1965

No change. Visited by RCAMS (JRS) March 1989.

In 1914-17 HA Fraser, assisted by Father Odo Blundell and Robert Munro, excavated crannog in Loch Kinellan, which is situated in upper Strath Peffer at altitude of about 125m OD. The crannog had previously been identified as hunting-seat of Earls of Ross in C14 & C15 and pottery of this period was discovered.
The excavations comprised a number of small trial-pits and in 1915 excavation of pit no. 6 revealed a logboat in centre of substructure at depth of about 8' (2.4m) below highest point. A 'large number of bones' were found near boat and immediately above it there was a 'very fine' flint flake. The pit was subsequently enlarged and boat was extracted during next season. It was taken to (fo) museum at Fort Augustus Abbey but cannot be located and is said to have 'disintegrated on being exposed to the air'.
When discovered, incomplete boat measured 24'9" (7.5m) in length and 'probably' 2'6" (0.8m) in beam; it had probably been 'considerably damaged' before it suffered considerable warping through use as crannog timber. The incomplete nature of recorded remains precludes quantitative analysis or assessment of form.
H A Fraser 1917; R J C Mowat 1996; info from Mr JA Grieve.

Peggy Macdonald née Ramsay, whose father was factor to the Fairburn Estate, remembers that when Kinellan Farm was part of the estate, there was an orchard on the island. In the excavation report for the island, this is also recorded:
‘In the nineteenth century the island was, under different tenants, used as a kitchen garden. A number of fruit trees still growing upon it are evidence of this somewhat ignoble use, while the rich crop of nettles that mantles its surface season after season is further eloquent of its departed glory (Fraser 1917, 52). This use of the island went back at least as far as 1837, as recorded in the New Statistical Account:
‘Loch Kinellan is also a pleasing object with its pretty little island (for many years a garden), and the fine arable fields on one side contrast strikingly with the wilder scenery on the other.'

Information from Peggy Macdonald, ARCH Remembering Strathpeffer Project, 2011 <1>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 4710 5759 (40m by 40m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH45NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish CONTIN

Finds (10)

  • GAMING PIECE (Undated)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • FISH REMAINS (Undated)
  • VESSEL (Undated)
  • VESSEL (Undated)
  • FLAKE (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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