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Rum, Guirdil

Bothy (20th Century) (1982), Farmstead (19th Century), Sheepfold(S) (19th Century), Shepherds Cottage (19th Century) (1848)

Site Name Rum, Guirdil

Classification Bothy (20th Century) (1982), Farmstead (19th Century), Sheepfold(S) (19th Century), Shepherds Cottage (19th Century) (1848)

Alternative Name(s) Rhum

Canmore ID 11019

Site Number NG30SW 8

NGR NG 32023 01370

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Small Isles
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Inverness-shire


Field Visit (May 1983)

Guirdil 2 NG 320 013 NG30SW

On the shore at Guirdil there are two ruinous cottages and, in the adjoining fank, traces of what may be the wall-footings of a rectangular building. Of the two cottages, that on the NE is earlier, possibly built between 1801 and 1824 (see NG30SW 7), while the other is probably a later shepherd's cottage. A third cottage is in use as a bothy.

RCAHMS 1983, visited May 1983

(Langlands, 1801; Thomson, 1824; OS 6-inch map, Islands of Rum, Sanday etc. Argyllshire, 1st ed., 1879, sheet Ix; Love 1983, 21)

Note (28 June 2022)

NG30SW 8 NG 31965 01343

This late 19th century shepherd’s house, now in use as a bothy, occupies the immediate foreshore at Guirdil Bay on the remote NW coast of Rum. Immediately to the E of the bothy there are a series of sheepfolds and at their SE corner there are the remains of two earlier roofless buildings (NG 32022 01368 and NG 32027 01380) arranged in an L-plan. These represent an earlier 19th century shepherd’s house and outbuilding. Just beyond these buildings there is another enclosure which contains traces of raised beds (NG 32042 01404).

Two roofed buildings and a series of enclosures, one of which is labelled ‘sheepfold’, are depicted on the 1st edition map (Inverness-shire (Rum), sheet lx, 1879) and the were described at the time as ‘a shepherd’s house’ (OS Name Books, Argyllshire, No. 63, 49). By 1898, when the 6-inch map was revised, these buildings had fallen out of use and a new shepherd’s house (now the bothy) had been constructed (Inverness-shire (Rum), sheet lx, 1903).

On the night of the 1881 census Guirdil was occupied by a shepherd, Alexander McDonald (44), his wife, Catherine McDonald (37), both born in the parish of Duirinish on Skye, and their six children, Marion (14), John (12), Sarah (9), Donald (7), Catherine (4), Alexander (2).

An earlier settlement of Guirdil stands about 180m to the SW of the bothy on the higher ground where there is a cluster of five buildings of an older type (NG30SW 7). They lie within a large area of formerly cultivated ground visible on vertical aerial photographs. The cultivation remains extend around the coastline to the NE where they are interspersed with peat cuttings (e.g. NG 32462 01679). A much earlier phase of settlement is represented by a possible prehistoric burial cairn 300m ENE of the bothy (NG30SW 4).

One roofed building annotated ‘Guirdil (Bothy)’, two unroofed buildings and series of enclosures are depicted on the current edition of the OS (GIS) Mastermap.

Information from HES Archaeological Survey (G F Geddes) 28 June 2022

(Allan 2017, 280-3)


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