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Loch Chaluim Chille, Skye

Logboat (Prehistoric)

Site Name Loch Chaluim Chille, Skye

Classification Logboat (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) St Columba's Loch

Canmore ID 11193

Site Number NG36NE 8

NGR NG 373 688

NGR Description NG c. 373 688

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kilmuir
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NG36NE 8 c. 373 688

For logboat found in 1874, see NG36NE 14.

During the draining of Loch Chaluim-Cille (Name: NG 378 687) in 1763, a log canoe, some 14' long and 3' broad, was found sunk deep in the mud of the bottom of the lake. Made of a single piece of fir or oak, it had been strengthened at either end by two and three thick iron links respectively. It was soon destroyed but the iron of the links was sufficiently sound for conversion into ploughing implements. Local opinion identified this canoe with the ferry boat of the Columban monastery (NG36NE 2)

W Jolly 1876; NSA 1845 .

In 1874 further drainage operations results in the discovery of a very shallow dug out canoe, 2 1/2' wide, in the W side of the ditch which runs along the W side of the loch, somewhere near the quarry from which the stones for the building of the monastery are said to have come. During the widening of this ditch some 4' of the stern part of the canoe was cut off and thrown up onto the bank. Subsequent examination showed it to be probably of pitch pine although some thought it might be oak. A search for the remainder of the canoe was fruitless but the stern portion is preserved at Capt. Fraser's house near Uig. This canoe is possibly of prehistoric date. (W Jolly 1876)

Visited by OS (C F W) 9 November 1960; NSA 1845; W Jolly 1876.

In 1763 a logboat was revealed during the drainage of Loch Chalum Chille or St Columba's Loch which was formerly situated in a depression about 1km from the sea in the Trotternish district of Skye, and at an altitude of about 15m OD.

The boat was discovered 'deeply imbedded in the bottom of the lake'. It measured about 14' (4.3m) in length by 3' (0.9m) in beam and was 'much stronger and far more firmly built than any of modern date'. The timber was variously identified as 'oak' or 'fir'. Fastened to the ends were five iron rings 'of almost incredible thickness' which were reworked into agricultural implements. The boat itself was destroyed.

NSA 1845; W Jolly 1876; R J C Mowat 1996.


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