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Clook, Lead Mine

Lead Mine (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Clook, Lead Mine

Classification Lead Mine (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Warebeth; Boltifar Burn; Bultifore Lead Mine; West Shore

Canmore ID 1571

Site Number HY20NW 7

NGR HY 2344 0888

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Stromness
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY20NW 7 2344 0888.

(HY 2344 0888) Old Lead Mine (NAT)

OS 6" map, Orkney, 2nd ed., (1903)

'A disused lead mine, which was wrought in a north easterly direction for about 30 yards some 80 years ago (i.e. circa 1800) but the ore was not in sufficient quantity to defray the expense'.

Name Book 1880.

A disused lead mine. The mine runs in a north easterly direction for about 30 metres to a possible shaft at HY 2344 0890 which has never been filled in.

Re-surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (RD) 16 September 1964.

This lead mining area is located at HY 2344 0888, about 2km W of Stromness. It is noted as 'Disused' on the first edition of the OS 1:2500 map (Orkney, sheet 106/6, surveyed 1877-8) and as an 'Old Lead Mine' on the second edition, which was revised in 1900. More recently, various authors have suggested that exploration began as early as the later 18th century while the Third Statistical Account notes the start of operations at the 'Bultifore Lead Mine' on the 'West Shore' in 1762.

Field investigation reveals that the mine is established around an easily-identifiable fault line and veined zone running from N to S across the Stromness Flags. The lead ore obtained is galena, which is found with calcite and barrettes in the fissures and fractures of the fault zone.

The main site is on the E bank of the Baltimore Burn, on and below the cliff to the SW of the track that crosses the burn by a small bridge. It comprises:

a. an adit dug horizontally into the base of the cliff at the level of the shore platform, and which evidently served for access, for exploration and to drain the workings. It is recorded as having turned NW within the entrance but has been infield for safety; the cliff around the entrance has collapsed and suffered from erosion. A channel below the adit evidently formerly carried water across the beach rock-platform, and the remains of stonework at the base of the cliff may indicate the location of a sluice.

b. about 19m N of the cliff, and above the adit, there was an infilled shaft which is a squared oval on plan and measures about 9.5m from NE to SW by 4m transversely. It is now only 1m deep and has spoil-tips on all sides except the SW.

c.. to the W of the pit there are the low turf-covered wall-footings of what have probably been two buildings, the larger measuring at least 8.6m by 7.5m externally.

The dressing-floor could not be identified but was probably near the cliff-edge to the W of the buildings. A flight of flagstone steps descends the cliff to the W of the larger building, digging has apparently taken place along the banks of the burn, and a short length of stonework along its side may suggest that the burn has been dammed.

Information from Mr N Steenman-Clark, Dounby, Orkney, 5 March 1998 (visited September-December 1996).

W Mykura 1976; NMRS, MS/995/1.

The 1967 edition of the OS 1:2500 map does not note this monument but depicts what is apparently the shaft at HY 23440 08898.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 13 March 1998.


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