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Balblair Wood

Building (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric), Mound(S) (Period Unassigned), Site (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Balblair Wood

Classification Building (Period Unassigned), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric), Mound(S) (Period Unassigned), Site (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Balblair Wood 2; Ballachrask; Teafrish

Canmore ID 116602

Site Number NH44SE 23

NGR NH 498 441

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kilmorack
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH44SE 23 499 443

See also NH44SE 22 and NH44SE 24 NH54SW 32, NH54SW 33, NH54SW 64

There is a scatter of at least 12 low,mostly circular, mounds in the wood and opposite a pylon in the field. Further NE and in the field near the wood there are the footings of a rectangular bulding of an unusual 9 yards by 7 yrads. At the edge of the field further NE there appear to be faint traces of small earthworks of indefinite shape. In from the corner of the field there are faint traces of short linear earthworks, mostly running towards the south. One beyond the glade and towards the E has been very substantial for about 20 yards. There are very slight traces of minor works on the plateau above. In the wood SW of here there is a scatter of at least 6 mounds or cairns.

The the SE of the aforementioned 12 mounds and up on the plateau, there are faint traces of a rampart or turf wall running across the ridge in a SE direction. At the NW end there are faint traces of a ditch at the NE side. Near the other SE end of the rampart there appear to be very faint traces of small earthworks of indefinite shape. 30 yards further NE there is another similar parallel rampart, and a futher 30 yards on there is yet another with a small mound between and near the NW edge of the plateau. A further 56 yards distant to the NE another rampart makes 4 similar parallel linear earthworks across the plateau which slopes very steeply down at the edges. 24 yards further NE of this last rampart there is what appears to be a robbed circular cairn 14 yards in diameter, overlooking (but for trees) the aforementioned group of 6 cairns on the flat below, and near the field. Further NE, beyond a glade and at a slightly lower level, there are 2 hut-circles both about 10 yards in diameter. There are numerous mounds in this area and beyond to the NE and the south. Also there is an elongated mound 10 yards x 5 yards. To the SE of this mound there is what appears to be a hut-circle 8 yards in diameter with a massive rampart 22 yards long running SE - NW close to the NE.

A few yards beyond this rampart there are the footings of a dyke running SE - NW across the ridge to very near the edge of the wood. This wall passes the edge of a robbed circular funerary site 20 yards in diameter. Near the centre of this circle there is a green and mossy cap stone 6 feet by 3 feet left standing on its edge. Also visible are two 6 feet long mossy elongated recumbent stones which are disarranged. To the E and S of this area there a 9 hut-circles which are respectively about 9, 10, 10, 12, 10 6, 10, 10 and 6 yards in diameter. There are also numerous prominent mounds.

Also there are perhaps half-a-dozen ramparts or turf walls, short and long, running in various directions, some of them obviously used for the controlling of stock. In this area close to, and NW of a forestry track, there are very faint traces of an oval enclosure 12 yards x 8 yards with the entrance to the S. There are 2 hut-circles 6 yards in diameter and three others at the S of and beyond and near this forestry track which runs in a SE direction for 50 yards then turns to the SW for another 30 yards ending at a hollow. Another runs E for 55 yards along the S edge above a hollow, then at the other side of the track it runs W for 22 yards, where there appears to have been a gateway; it then continues for a further 50 yards. 22 yards to the SW of this rampart there is a short length of a less substantial and parallel dyke of 40 yards. The furthest NE linear earthwork runs W to E, 23 yards being NW of the track and 50 yards being SE of the track. Another rampart runs at an angle to, and close to, the SE side of the track, finishing at one of the prominent mounds at the W end. This rampart is 40 yards long.

The furthest SW linear earthwork starts a few yards NW of the forestry track which it crosses and then runs S for at least 150 yards, a few yards away and NE of a track running in open ground to which it angles before the rampart ends. At a T-junction another rampart 55 yards long runs NE with bends close to, and roughly parallel with, and on the SE side of the forestry track. This rampart is right angles to the other rampart as are the forestry tracks. The NE end of this rampart is at a prominent mound and there is at least one other mound incorporated in its length. Even further SE there is a prominent, slightly curved rampart running NE and close to the SE side of a different forestry track. After swinging N it crosses the track and ends. The length is 95 yards.

In the area S of here there are an elongated mound 7 yards x 3 yards, and 3 other prominent circular mounds. 120 yards from the end of the rampart and NE along the forestry track there is a hut-circle 7 yards in diameter almost at the NW edge of the track. From the aforementioned massive 22 yards long rampart there continues a turf wall which crosses the forestry track in the southerly direction and then swings round in a wide semicircle towards the W. Running eastwards from it and before it swings is a rampart at least 30 yards long. There are a multiplicity of indefinite and faint earthworks in the vicinity of the semicircle.

Coghill et al 1989

It is likely that the report above is describing all sites noted in Balblair Wood ( and NH54SW), but until further field-work is carried out this cannot be confirmed.

Information from RCAHMS (DE) November 1997


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