MHG6991 - Crannog - Loch of the Clans, Bemuchyle


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • CRANNOG (Late Iron Age - 2 AD to 560 AD?) + Sci.Date
  • WRECK (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NH85SW 1 8257 5297 and 8259 5299

See also NH85SW 4.

(NH 8260 5298) The Remains of a Canoe, a Clay Cup, and Oak Piles found here (NAT)
OS 25" map, Nairnshire, (1870)

The remains of a canoe, part of a clay cup, and upright oak piles were found here when a deep drain was cut at the E end of the Loch of the Clans, lowering its level.
Name Book 1869.

The remains of a crannog, almost certainly that noted by Campbell in 1841, were discovered, in or shortly before 1863, by John Grigor within the old margin of the Loch of the Clans.
The sub-circular crannog measured c. 64' in diameter, and was c. 10' above the bed of the loch. It was of a timber framework or brushwood with a stone cover as breakwater. It contained a hearth and the following relics: half a stone cup or lamp, two whetstones, an iron axe head, charcoal, boxes, a piece of modern pottery, the bowl of a horn spoon and a cock-shell. Other stone things of antiquity were found but not recovered. About 1820, a dug-out canoe was found between this crannog (probably the feature at NH 8257 5297) and the hill-slope to the N.
Before 1863, probably shortly before, a few flint arrow-heads and flakes were found in the neighbourhood.
The remains of the crannog were enclosed by the proprietor by May 1864, and planted with pines.
NSA (written by A Campbell - 1841) 1845; J Grigor 1865.

The crannog, as described above, is situated at NH 8257 5297, in a sloping pasture field; it survives as a grass-covered sub-circular mound c. 20.0m in diameter and 1.7m high, surmounted by the ruins of a fairly modern building.
It is known locally as 'The Castle' (information from Mr J Miller, Bemuchlye, Gollanfield, Inverness-shire).
No further information was found concerning the finds.
Revised at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (N K B) 25 November 1965.

(NH 8257 5297) Crannog (NR) (site of)
(NH 8260 5298) Canoe found (NAT)
OS 6" map, (1959)

The centre of the crannog is hollowed out and there are no remains of the modern building noted by previous OS field surveyor.
Visited by OS (A A) 5 May 1975.

About 1823 the 'remains of a Canoe' were revealed during drainage operations within the area formerly occupied by the Loch of the Clans, and now noted as Muir of the Clans. The New Statistical Account records that the boat was 'of most beautiful workmanship' but was 'cut down for mean and servile purposes by some modern Goth'.
The Ordnance Survey locate the discovery at a point 170m SW of Bemuchyle farmhouse and 30m ENE of a crannog in an area of prominent eskers running from ENE to WSW at an altitude of about 30m OD.
This is probably the logboat that Wallace notes at 'Nairnside'; the modern farm of that name is situated about 2.7km to the S.
NSA 1845; OS Name Book; J Grigor 1865; ISSFC 1926; R J C Mowat 1996.

Survey and small scale excavation was undertaken at the site by Michael Stratigos in 2017. The crannog was found to have been significantly impacted by antiquarian excavation and there was near complete loss of organic material since the loch's drainage in 1823. No trace of the alternating horizontal timbers identified in the 1860s excavation were encountered. Samples for radiocarbon dating were taken, one from the the interface between the anthropogenic layers and natural lacustrine layer, and the other from a diffuse boundary higher up. These produced the respective dates of cal AD 4-131 and 21-11cal BC/2BC- AD 129 at 95.4% probability. This indicates that the crannog was a single phase crannog probably dating from the 1st century AD. However, given that most extensively excavated crannogs are multiphased, and the degree of deterioration the crannog has suffered due from intrusive antiquarian excavations and drainage of the loch, it is likely that potential later phases at the site may remain unidentifiable. <1>

GIS spatial data created 2018 based on rectified survey plan. Althought the crannog appears to be cut by the track on OS Master Map 2018, it is not. The rectified survey plan matches more acurrately with the crannog based on 2009 and 2016 aerial imagery, and therefore has been mapped according to the rectified survey plan.
GW 24/07/18

The NMS catalogue lists a portion of a pile from a crannog at Loch of the Clans. It is unclear whether is it from this crannog or the other (MHG6987) at this site. Acc. No. HT 22. <2>

Sources/Archives (13)



Grid reference Centred NH 8257 5297 (21m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH85SW
Geographical Area NAIRN

Finds (1)

  • STRUCTURAL TIMBER (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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