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Loch Eye

Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)(Possible)

Site Name Loch Eye

Classification Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)(Possible)

Canmore ID 15270

Site Number NH87NW 5

NGR NH 822 790

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/15270

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

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

Archaeology Notes

NH87NW 5 822 790.

NH 795 825. A prolonged dry spell caused the water level of Loch Eye to fall and in October 1972 some scores of circular stone features were seen. These varied between 2.0m and 5.0m in diameter and were revealed above and just below water level on both N and S shores. Air photography suggests that they are distributed along an old shore line that became flooded when perhaps the water level was raised to power a mill during the Middle Ages. Some circles have narrow and insubstantial stone causeways leading to them from higher ground, suggesting that their surroundings were damp but not waterlogged. The features consist of up to four or more rows of stone arranged in a hollow circle. A few appear to have an entrance on the S or SE, but the majority are without. Although some are large enough to be hut circles, the very small size (diameters of barely 2.0m) of many makes their function problematical. No artifacts could be associated with them.

I W Stuart 1972.

There are at least 20 of these structures concentrated in the area centred at NH 822 790, and they are mostly still under 1 or 2' of water and mud and only visible by wading. Other isolated examples occur along the NW shore at NH 821 793, and others at NH 825 792. According to Mrs Menzies (Mounteagle, Ross-shire) others have been reported along the S shore towards the E end of the loch, but only 2 or 3 possible denuded examples were seen at NH 835 795 and NH 838 796. Both circular and sub-rectangular on plan, the structures vary between 6.0m and 2.0m in diameter with the rectangular ones averaging 4.0m by 3.0m. Occasionally there is a cluster of three or four adjoining, but they are mainly singular. The walls are of small boulder construction reduced to tumbled debris with no signs of facing stones. There are traces of other (? field) walls, and occasional patches of stones c. 3.0m in diameter (? hayrick stances). Infra-red A Ps taken by both Department of Environment and RAF Lossiemouth (Information from Mrs Menzies) will probably show the precise lay-out. Mrs Menzies has some pieces of medieval glass from the site. The structures appear to be the footings of bothies of shieling type, and occur on the original margin of the loch and must have been flooded when the level was raised by the monks of Fearn Abbey.

Visited by OS (A A) 24 October 1972.

Possibly flax ponds, fowling hides, but could be hut-circles (information from E Macnamara).

E Rowell 1977, 22.

This has been a desk assessment area.

J Wordsworth, SSSIs, Scottish Natural Heritage, 1993.

References

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