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Field Visit

Date 2013

Event ID 992921

Category Recording

Type Field Visit


NN 17251 25860 (and vicinity) The extensive site of Uachdar Mhaluidh, anglicised as Auchtermally, consists of four distinct areas which have groups of dry stone structures with at least 16 structures across the whole area, including two enclosures.

Area 1 On the S bank of the Allt Mhaluidh is a long rectangular dry stone building whose longer front wall containing the entrance faces 330degrees. The partly destroyed doorway is 7.9m from the E end. Its SW corner is at NN 17229 25803. The building measures 13.4 x 6.1m with walls 0.8m wide and generally 0.2m high but up to 0.9m at the E end. The ground falls away on the N and E sides; on the S side a broad stone and turf dyke 1.5m wide runs parallel to the S wall at a distance of 2.7m. On the edge of a steep rocky bank, 11m to the N, are the remains of two walls of a rectangular structure, a double wall 5.4m long E–W and a 2.7m stretch at 90degrees at the W end.

To the W of these structures is the sheepfold. Neither it nor the long house described above are shown on the OS 6” maps (Argyllshire, Sheet CI, 1874). The post-1897 multi-chambered sheepfold occupies a location where there was formerly a line of four small rectangular buildings.

A feature shown on the 6” maps, and now attached to the S wall of the sheepfold, is either a 24m long and 6m wide rectangular dry stone structure or two contiguous structures end to end. The long axis is 260degrees, roughly E–W, with the NE corner at NN 17211 25809. The walls are up to 0.4m high and are 1.4m wide on the E side, 0.9m wide on the W. Internally, the E and W compartments are c9m and c12m long respectively. There is an older enclosure on the S side that encompasses the W part of the two buildings and the SW corner of the sheepfold. It is a low turfed-over dyke 1–1.5m wide. The NW corner of the dyke is marked by a standing stone 1.2m high x 0.35m thick and 0.4m wide tapering at the top. The owner of Brackley Farm, whose family has farmed this land for over 170 years, indicates that the building up against the sheepfold was the schoolhouse.

Area 2 There is a well preserved corn kiln or limekiln on the N bank at NN 17234 25840. It is circular, with external diameter 4.7m. The bowl diameter is 2.5m and it is at least 0.9m deep. On the S side facing the river the wall on the river side is 1.3m high. It has an opening 0.3m wide and 0.4m high 0.4m below the top edge. There is a second opening at least 0.4m high below it under a lintel stone. This may be the flue of a corn kiln or the draw-hole of a small limekiln. It is reported by the farmer at Brackley that lime burning was carried out at Auchtermally.

At NN 17350 25872 is the easternmost structure in Area 2, 25m from the main group. It is a crude low near-circular turf bank 0.9m wide of 5.3m external diameter on a slope facing S with a gap on the downhill side and one opposite, uphill.

From E to W the houses in Area 2 are first A at NN 17317 25872 with long axis roughly E–W. It measures 16.4 x 4.6m with a possible subdivision; the walls are c1m broad and low. The S wall curves outwards and there is a large boulder in the E wall. There is an entrance gap at the N end of the W short wall.

House B is 12.5m W of A with the same E–W orientation but a little to the N. Its SW corner is at NN 17271 25862. It measures 20 x 5.7m and is subdivided into E and W rooms c5.8m and c11.8m long respectively. The walls are 0.8–1m wide and 0.5–0.8m high. In the better preserved W chamber there is a gap, probably an entrance, in the N wall 5m from the E end.

House C is at an angle to A and B, roughly NW–SE. Its SW corner is 0.9m from the W end of B. It is 15.0 x 6.1m and has an annexee at the N end 3.3m long and 6.1m wide. The walls are 0.7m wide and 0.3–0.4m high. The S wall is a single line of large boulders. There is a subdivision in the form of a low hump 7m from the S end.

House D is 18m W of C with long axis at 330degrees and stands on the highest ground with a broad view of the area to the N, E and W. Its SE corner is at NN 17251 25860. It measures 17.5 x 5.8m with no obvious subdivision. The walls are 0.8m wide and c0.8m high except for the N wall which stands up to c2.1m. The N section of the E wall is broken but the S edge of a doorway 4.8m from the S wall is preserved.

Structures E and F are 25m WSW of D at NN 17221 25853 across an old road, a hollow-way, which runs from the river downhill to the W of Area 2. They are two low rectangular dry stone structures end to end very roughly constructed of large boulders interspersed with smaller stones. Their long axis is at 320degrees. E and F are 9m and 10m long respectively and 5.9m wide, with E to the N of F. The walls are 0.9m wide and up to 0.4m high.

Area 3 On lower ground on a broad flat terrace near NN 17202 25921 is a contiguous line of three rectangular structures G, H, and J, set end to end along a NW–SE line, with G farthest N. On the W side, and enclosing a large flat area, is a large yard c24m long NW to SE and 12m wide. G is 8.7 x 6.1m, H 10.7 x 6.4m; they are separated by a 1m gap. The walls are 0.7m wide and up to 0.5m high in G, 0.7m in H. The smaller structure J is attached to the SE end of H, but is narrower, at 4.2m wide and 5m long. A separate structure K is 3.5m SE of J, oriented NE–SW. It is 7m long and 4.5m wide, and an annexee 3.3m long is attached to the NE end. The walls are 0.6m wide and 1m high and there is much tumble at the SW end. It has a doorway in the NW long wall 5.2m from the SE end.

Area 4 At NN 17140 26001 is M, a roughly circular turf and stone bank, c0.5m wide of external diameter 3.6–4.0m, and lying at the edge of a steep slope. A degraded corn kiln is a possibility. A rectangular dry stone structure L is 9m to the NNW of M, its long axis is at 340degrees. It has broad walls, 1.2m wide standing up to 0.6m high, and measures 12.6 x 6.0m. There is a subdividing wall 0.7m wide 5.1m from the outside edge of the N wall and a 1.1m wide entrance in the E wall of the S chamber 4.4m from the S end.

David Dorren and Nina Henry, 2013

(Source: DES)

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