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Druim Liath

Battle Site (11th Century)(Possible), Field System (Prehistoric), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Druim Liath

Classification Battle Site (11th Century)(Possible), Field System (Prehistoric), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Drumliah

Canmore ID 14018

Site Number NH69SW 3

NGR NH 611 929

NGR Description Centred at NH 611 929

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 Creich (Sutherland)
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NH69SW 3 centred 611 929.

(Name at NH 612 930) Druim Liath - Battle fought here between Scots and Danes AD 1031 (NAT)

OS 6"map, Sutherland, 2nd ed., (1907)

Cairns (NAT) (Twice)

(NH 6123 9288 and NH 6126 9311) Field System (NR) (NH 6094 9314) Hut Circle (NR)

OS 25" map, (1969)

The ONB (1874) records that Druim Liath was the scene of a battle between the inhabitants and the Danes. Authorities conflict on the date, and it is confounded with a battle fought at Embo, Sutherland.

The Rev Joass (Mackay 1897) has little doubt that it was fought in 1031 between Sigurd the Gross and Earl Frimlic (Frimlike Jarl).

RCAHMS (1911) describes a hut circle and some small mounds some 120 yards N of Carn Liath (NH69SW 25).

Name Book 1874; J Mackay 1897; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

Centred at NH 611 929 on the SW slopes of Druim Liath is a group of three circular stone-walled hut circles ('A' - 'C'), each with a poorly defined entrance in the SE, and an associated field system.

The entrances to huts 'B' and 'C', which are set into the slope, are sited at the junction of the excavated/built up portions.

Hut 'A' measures c.11.5m in diameter between wall centres, with the walling spread to c.2.5m all round.

Hut 'B' consists of a platform, set into the slope, measuring about 13.5m in diameter with traces of a stone wall around it.

Hut 'C' measures c.13.0m in diameter between wall centres, with the wall spread varying from c. 2.0m on the N to c.3.5m on the lower SW side.

The field system is defined mainly by stone clearance heaps (which have probably given rise to the tradition of the battle), with occasional lynchets and field walls, forming cultivation plots averaging 35m by 25m.

Visited by OS (R D L) 4 June 1963 and (N K B) 7 October 1969.

Settlement surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (I S S) 24 September 1973.

No change.

Visited by OS (J B) 5 September 1980.


Field Visit (2 October 1909)

69. The Tulloch, Bonarbridge.

The Tulloch, and Druim Liath, which is a portion of it, are covered with stony mounds and hut circles. Of the former by far the greater number present features suggesting that they are the ruins of huts. Most of them are circular, with a diameter of 16', some are oblong, and some of the heaps are so long as to suggest that several huts have stood attached in a row. Among them here and there are conical mounds overgrown with vegetation, but these are much less numerous.

[NH69SW 14] About ¼ mile E. of the school-house and a short distance to the E. of ‘Carn an fhitich’ (No. 85) are a number of the supposed hut ruins. One heap of stones lying E. and W. measures 30' x 17'. Adjacent to it, in the form of a crescent, is a long mound facing S., some 60' long by 20' wide at the centre. Near the top of the hill, towards the SW., are a few small overgrown mounds measuring from 12' to 16' in diameter. On the same part of the hill is an oval heap of stones measuring 20' x 14'. The remains of old walls are visible among the ruins. In one instance a portion of wall is succeeded by two mounds about 15' apart, and 15' to 16' in diameter.

[NH69SW 14] Some ½ m. NW. of the W. end of Loch Migdale are the ruins of a hut circle measuring interiorly 24' X 20', with foundations of walls running from it. To the N. of it, some 40', is a heap of stones lying N. and S., measuring 40' x 18', and showing marked depressions near the centre. Near by are a number of conical mounds overgrown with vegetation, some 12' in diameter, and about 1½' in height.

[NH69SW 14] About ¼ m. NNW. of the church is a well-marked hut ruin. It measures 16' in diameter over all, and the interior depression, which is clearly defined, about 7' in diameter. The entrance appears to have been from the SE. Some 80 yards NNW. of it are two small mounds some 18' in diameter, and 2' to 3' in height.

On the W. side of the road which crosses Druim Liath from N. to S., and towards the N. side of the hill, is a small circular enclosure measuring 12' in interior diameter. The entrance appears to have been from the W. Some 30 yards to the N. of it is a semicircular enclosure facing NW., measuring some 30' in diapieter, with a bank about 9' thick. Opposite the end of the bank at the SE. is a low heap of stones about 14' in diameter.

On the N. side of Druim Liath, some ¾ m. NNE. of the Poorhouse, is a circular enclosure with an interior diameter of about 30'. The wall, which has been entirely broken down, has measured about 8' in thickness, and has been formed of boulders. On the K side a bank projects 25' in length and 15' in breadth, probably flanking the entrance. What appear to be the ruins of one or two small circular huts lie near to the S. On the SE. flank of the hill are the remains, almost obliterated, of several hut circles of simple oval form.

Some 300 yards SW. of the last described circle is another of simple form, measuring interiorly 26' x 32'. The entrance appears to been from the E., but the circle is overgrown with whins, and

the details are indefinite.

[NH69SW 20] On the top of the hill, near its NW. end, are some large heaps of stone, probably ruins of contiguous huts. Two of these heaps measure 28' in length by 16' in width.

On the top of Druim Liath, about 1 m. NE. of Bonarbridge, is a small hut circle measuring interiorly 20' x 23', with its entrance from the SE. 2' wide through banks 5' thick.

Some 100 yards W. is a circular enclosure with an interior diameter of 3', surrounded by the ruins of a wall composed of rather small stones, in its present state from 7' to 8' broad. The entrance has probably been from the ESE., and been 3' wide. Against the wall . in the interior, and slightly to the N. of a point opposite the entrance, are the ruins of a hut, similar in appearance to those all over the hill, measuring some 12' x 14' (fig. 9).

Some 15' to the N. are the remains of another circular enclosure with an interior diameter of 38'. The bank has been of stone and turf, the entrance from the ESE. about 9' wide.

[NH69SW 30] At the extreme NW. end of Druim Liath is a group of small mounds, about six in number, conical in form, of some 17' in diameter, and from 2' 6" to 3' in height.

Some 100 yards N., on the N. slope of the hill, is a hut circle with an interior diameter of 21' x 26'; the entrance is from the E., and the surrounding bank of turf and stone is about 4' thick. Several small mounds lie adjacent; none, however, having the hut features.

[NH69SW 3] At the W. end of the hill, some 120 yards N. of "Carn Liath," is a hut circle which has had an enclosing wall of stone 6' to 7' thick. The interior diameter is 28'. The entrance is from the E., and is 3' wide. Around it are small mounds of from 15' to 18' in diameter, mostly covered with vegetation.

OS 6-inch map: Sutherland Sheet cviii.

RCAHMS 1911, visited (AOC) 2nd October 1909.


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