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Cruck Framed Building(S) (Medieval) - (18th Century), Field System (Medieval) - (18th Century), Head Dyke (Medieval) - (18th Century), Kiln Barn (Medieval) - (18th Century), Township (Medieval) - (18th Century)

Site Name Bourblaige

Classification Cruck Framed Building(S) (Medieval) - (18th Century), Field System (Medieval) - (18th Century), Head Dyke (Medieval) - (18th Century), Kiln Barn (Medieval) - (18th Century), Township (Medieval) - (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Buarblaig

Canmore ID 22356

Site Number NM56SW 2

NGR NM 5468 6226

NGR Description Centred NM 5468 6226

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Ardnamurchan
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes (15 June 1970)

NM56SW 2 centred 546 623

The township of Buarblaig (Bourblaige: NM 546 623) was cleared in 1828 by Sir James Milles Riddell.

(A MacKenzie 1946)

Site not visited.

Information from OS (N K B), 15 June 1970


Field Visit (July 1972)

This township is situated on the SE slopes of Ben Hiant at a height of between 100m and 150m OD. The site measures about 5.7 ha (14 acres) in extent, and comprises a tract of gently sloping ground bordering the confluence of a number of minor tributaries of an unnamed burn which flows SE to enter the mouth of Loch Sunart about 1km W of Camas nan Geall.

The buildings, some three dozen in number, lie scattered in small groups, taking advantage of such areas of comparatively dry ground as may be found. Within these groups a number of buildings can tentatively be identified as dwelling-houses, and others as barns and byres, while the adjacent enclosures, which in many cases show traces of lazy-beds, were presumably kail-yards... Nearly all the surviving buildings are of dry-stone construction, their walls remaining to a height of between 1m and 2m; most are oblong on plan with rounded corners. All the buildings appear to have been cruck-framed and hip-roofed, the hips frequently being supported by crucks placed centrally in the end-walls...The largest buildings... measure up to 12m by 6m over all... The patches of arable ground round the township show extensive traces of rig-cultivation.

Bourblaige formed part of the Ardnamurchan estates of the Riddell family, and the township is depicted on an estate-map prepared by William Bald for Sir James Riddell in 1806. A contemporary report gives the total extent of the property as 553 acres (224 ha), of which 93 acres (38 ha) were arable and the remainder moor and pasture, and goes on to describe it as 'a very pleasant sheep farm, but oppres'd with too many tenants'. By 1829, however, the township had been combined with the neighbouring property of Tornamoany to form one large grazing-farm held by a single tenant. It seems likely, therefore, that the majority of buildings visible today were abandoned shortly before this date.

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1972

[a full illustrated description is provided in RCAHMS 1980, No. 364]


NAS, RHP 72, 'Survey of the lands of Ardnamurchan and Sunart by William Bald, 1806-7'; AF 49/2A, 'Descriptive survey and valuation of estate of Ardnamurchan and Sunart, 1807'; AF 49/3, 'Report by Thomas Anderson, Strontian, on the farms of the barony of Ardnamurchan and Sunart, 1829'. Cf. also Scottish Studies, v (1961), 112-17.

Note (1981)

Cruck-slots noted.

G Stell 1981.

Note (1993)

The settlement was probably cleared in 1828 by the landowner Sir James Riddell to make way for a sheep farm. Donaldson (p417-8) equates this with the site of the Battle of Muirbulg fought in 731 between the Picts and the Dalriadic Scots. This remains unproven. This has been a desk assessment area.

J Wordsworth, SSSIs, Scottish Natural Heritage, 1993

Note (6 May 1998)

Twenty-eight unroofed buildings, one of which is L-shaped, two enclosures, one of which has four compartments, a field-system and a head-dyke is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire 1875, sheet xxv).

Twenty-eight unroofed buildings, the field-system and the head-dyke are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1974).

Information from RCAHMS (SAH), 6 May 1998


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