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Alness, Dalmore Distillery

Distillery (19th Century) (1839), Submarine Mining Station (First World War)

Site Name Alness, Dalmore Distillery

Classification Distillery (19th Century) (1839), Submarine Mining Station (First World War)

Alternative Name(s) Us Naval Base 17

Canmore ID 13629

Site Number NH66NE 23

NGR NH 6658 6870

NGR Description Centred NH 6658 6870

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

World War One Audit of Surviving Remains (5 August 2013)

The United States Navy established two naval bases, at Inverness (Naval Base 18, see NH64NE 827) and Invergordon (Naval Base 17), where mines, shipped in pieces from the United States to the west coast of Scotland, were assembled, by US naval personnel, prior to being loaded onto American mine-laying ships. Two bases had to be established because Inverness Harbour was not large enough to accommodate enough mine-laying ships at once.

The mines were landed from the United States at Kyle of Lochalsh (from where up to 2,000 mines a week were moved by train to Invergordon) and Corpach (from where up to 1,500 mines a week were shipped through the Caledonian Canal to Inverness).

Using production line methods copied from the car industry, a total of up 1,340 mines a day was assembled at the two bases. The bases came into being in February 1918, the first mines arrived at Corpach on 5 April, and the first mines were assembled on 29 May. By the Armistice on 11 November the mine barrage was complete from Norway to within 10 miles of Orkney. 56,760 US mines had been laid in just over 5 months, and 16,300 British ones.

The precise location of the US facilities within the Royal Naval Dockyard at Invergordon is not known, but the US Official history of the work records the laying of railway lines out onto some of the dockyard piers. The HQ of the Base was a short distance to the west, at Dalmore distillery at Alness where the mine assembly sheds were built. The completed mines were then taken by train to Invergordon and loaded on to the ships. The submarine mining base may have used the pier at Dalmore, known locally as the Yankee Pier after the war when he barrage across the North Sea was removed.

Information from HS/RCAHMS World War One Audit Project (GJB) 5 August 2013.

Archaeology Notes

NH66NE 23 centred 6658 6870

Dalmore Distillery [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, June 2009.

For nearby (and possibly associated) Belleport Pier (NH 67322 68892), see NH66NE 30.


Architect: A Maitland & Sons, Tain 1893 & 1898 - site & additions.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

(Location cited as NH 666 687). Dalmore Distillery, Alness, founded 1839. A large complex of buildings of mixed date, with two large malting kilns. Now out of use, but preserved, are two single cylinder steam-engines by James Milne of Edinburgh, one vertical (?1880's) and the other horizontal (1898). The horizontal [engine] drove two draff driers and conveyors, and the vertical [engine] drove the malt kiln.

J R Hume 1977.

Distillery - seen, stable condition.

CFA/MORA Coastal Assessment Survey 1998.


Project (March 2013 - September 2013)

A project to characterise the quantity and quality of the Scottish resource of known surviving remains of the First World War. Carried out in partnership between Historic Scotland and RCAHMS.

Photographic Survey (18 March 2019)

AOC Archaeology Group undertook a site inspection at Dalmore Distillery, Dalmore, Alness, following trenching works in advance of the installation of an electricity substation. The inspection was required due to the development being situated within an area of archaeological potential. The partial remains of a stone building late 19th century in date were identified on the site.

A photographic survey of an adjacent walled garden was also carried out.

Information from AOC Archaeology Group.


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