MHG63052 - Shieling or permanent settlement - Belladrum


A shieling or permanent settlement at Belladrum.

Type and Period (2)

  • SHIELING HUT? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • SETTLEMENT? (Post Medieval - 1560 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The Inverness Field Club, led by Donald Coghill, surveyed a number of sites in the Aird area between 1987 and 1989. Forestry above Belladrum.

On a level area in sloping woodland there is the site of a large summer shieling or permanent settlement. There are turf and stone footings of a rectangular dwelling 12 yards x 5 yards and aligned E-W with the entrance on the north side. Adjacent at the NW there are similar footings of a larger building or small stock enclosure 16 yards x 7 yards. This is aligned N-S with what may be the entrance at the west forming a small square area protruding outwards at the SW corner. Nearby, there are faint traces of turf footings of an E-W bothy 9 yards x 4 yards. Also there are turf and stone footings of two other rectangular buildings, both aligned N-S, the entrances appear to be at the east, the dimensions are 12 yards x .5 yards and 8 yards x 4 yards.

Adjacent to the latter and smaller building is an outer ditched four sided stock enclosure, one side has a slight curve, the yardage lengths arc approximately 38, 36, 22 and 32. The substantial turf walling is so eroded into the ditch in places that an entrance cannot be traced. Situated on a knoll a little distance south of this enclosure there is turf walling about 2 feet high which now appears as almost circular with an outside diameter of 4 yards. This small bothy may have been used for storing dairy produce as the entrance is at the north away from the sun. Some distance further to the south there is a small elongated mound aligned E-W; there is at least one other similar mound; also one which is circular between this site and site No. 232. A little distance to the north of this shieling site there is a small area of what appears to be eroded earthworks, now of indefinite shape, situated on a prominent flat-topped knoll. Further down from this knoll and towards the west there is a triangular cairn over 2 feet high, the length of the straight sides are 5 yards, 3 yards and 5 yards.

Where the two yard lengths converge the cairn is joined on to a curved length of low, wide boulder walling running downhill and ends as a small pointed cairn which is a raised knob, and the combined length is 44 yards. Nearby, and also concealed under moss, bracken and fallen timber, is an almost circular cairn (one side is slightly flat); it is fully 3 feet high and has a diameter of 4 yards. Fifteen yards to the other NW side of, and 15 yards from the lower end of the boulder walling, there commences a straight parallel length of similar walling running downhill for 14 yards. Further down the slope, also running downhill in the same direction, there are 57 yards of similar straight boulder walling. <1>

Note: Site not visible on aerial photographs so location based on grid coordinates. (T. Blackie 20/09/23)

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NH 5320 4200 (40m by 40m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH54SW
Geographical Area INVERNESS

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