Ardnamurchan, Gortenfern

Battle Site

Site Name Ardnamurchan, Gortenfern

Classification Battle Site

Alternative Name(s) Sgeir A' Chaolais; Gorten Bay

Canmore ID 22495

Site Number NM66NW 1

NGR NM 62 69

NGR Description NM c. 62 69

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Ardnamurchan
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NM66NW 1 c. 62 69.

Traditionally, the bays between Gortenfern (NM 608 689) and Sgeir a' Chaolais (NM 623 702) have been the sites of at least two battles. One is said to have involved the Vikings, while the other, because of the large number of spears, daggers, brooch, etc, datable to the late 13th century, and coin of Edward I, all found in Cul na Croise (NM622 698), may have been fought in 1297 between the forces of Edward I and Roderick of Bute and Lachlan MacRuari of Garmoran.

A coin of Charles II, musket balls, etc, found at Cul na Croise, may possibly indicate a later skirmish.

Large numbers of Viking nails and rivets from a ship burial (Information from V Hodzon, director, West Highland Museum to OS) at Cul na Crois were also found, in 1924, some relics being given to the West Highland Museum at Fort William by Lethbridge. Numerous other finds are owned by Mr Sandy Cameron of Gortenfern.

T C Lethbridge 1925; S Greig 1940.

There is now no local knowledge regarding the sites of the finds, nor of the location of the ship burial. The land between Gortenfern and Sgeir a' Chaolais is an area of shifting sands. The tradition of a battle is still known. Mr Sandy Cameron is now deceased and his collection has passed to his nephew Mr R Cameron, Kentra, Argyll.

Visited by OS (R L) 18 May 1970.

The 'boat-burial' identification (supra) cannot be confirmed.

RCAHMS 1980.


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