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Loch Kinellan

Crannog (Period Unassigned), Logboat

Site Name Loch Kinellan

Classification Crannog (Period Unassigned), Logboat

Alternative Name(s) Loch Kinellas

Canmore ID 12467

Site Number NH45NE 7

NGR NH 4710 5759

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Contin
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NH45NE 7 4710 5759

The artificial island in Loch Kinellan, near the southern shore, is an irregular ellipse in shape, measuring approximately 70 yards by 47 yards, with a barrier of stones around its perimeter. There is a second barrier at the west end, about 15 feet from the perimetric barrier. Excavations were carried out from 1914 to 1916 which showed that, structurally, the island appears to consist of three main series of layers, the base being of logs.

A much damaged dug out canoe has been incorporated in the wooden platforms, presumably as 'just another log'.

Just below the present surface of the island were discovered the stone-and-clay foundations of a rectangular building, 18 feet by 28 feet' with some indications of wings'.

The various pits and trenches dug yielded animal and fish bones, objects of iron, wood, stone and leather, and a carved ivory gaming-piece.

The pottery found included fourteenth and fifteenth century material and a piece of seventeenth or eighteenth century delft ware.

The crannog was for a long time a hunting-seat of the Earls of Ross, one of whom invited Robert the Bruce there. It was from this island that Kenneth MacKenzie went forth and defeated the Macdonalds between 1485 and 1488.

In the nineteenth century the island was in use as a kitchen garden.

H A Fraser 1917.

This crannog, at NH 4710 5760, measures 76.0 metres E to W by 36.0 metres N to S and rises about 0.6 metres above the water. It is now completely overgrown with bushes and only a small section of walling at the west end of the perimeter is now visible. When the water in the loch is low, the island is accessible from the mainland.

(Information from Canon McKenzie, Kinellan Lodge, Strathpeffer)

Visited by OS (R D) 20 January 1965.

No change.

Visited by RCAMS (JRS) March 1989.

In 1914-17 HA Fraser, assisted by Father Odo Blundell and Robert Munro, excavated the crannog in Loch Kinellan, which is situated in upper Strath Peffer at an altitude of about 125m OD. The crannog had previously been identified as the hunting-seat of the Earls of Ross in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and pottery of this period was discovered.

The excavations comprised a number of small trial-pits and in 1915 the excavation of pit no. 6 revealed a logboat in the centre of the substructure at a depth of about 8' (2.4m) below the highest point. A 'large number of bones' were found near the boat and immediately above it there was a 'very fine' flint flake. The pit was subsequently enlarged and the boat was extracted during the next season. It was taken to the (former) museum at Fort Augustus Abbey but cannot be located and is said to have 'disintegrated on being exposed to the air'.

When discovered, the incomplete boat measured 24'9" (7.5m) in length and 'probably' 2'6" (0.8m) in beam; it had probably been 'considerably damaged' before it suffered considerable warping through use as a crannog timber. The incomplete nature of the recorded remains precludes quantitative analysis or assessment of form.

H A Fraser 1917; R J C Mowat 1996; information from Mr JA Grieve.


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