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Strontian, Corrantee Mine

Bloomery(S) (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Bothy (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Building(S) (Period Unassigned), Lead Mine (Period Unassigned), Sluice(S) (Period Unassigned), Tramway(S) (Modern)

Site Name Strontian, Corrantee Mine

Classification Bloomery(S) (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Bothy (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Building(S) (Period Unassigned), Lead Mine (Period Unassigned), Sluice(S) (Period Unassigned), Tramway(S) (Modern)

Alternative Name(s) Strontian, Lead Mines; Glen Hurich Forest; Corrantee Lead Mine

Canmore ID 23123

Site Number NM86NW 4

NGR NM 800 659

NGR Description Centred NM 800 659

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/23123

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NM86NW 4 centred 800 659

Not to be confused with NM86NE 1 and NM86NW 3.00.

Extends onto map sheet NM76NE.

Listed. (Details obtainable from Lochaber Forest District Office, Torlundy, Fort William.)

J Kirby 1992

Depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map, (Argyllshire, 1872, sheet xvii), as Corrantee Mine (Lead) showing two lengths of tramway leading from levels, several buildings and two sluices.

Information from RCAHMS (DE), September 1994

NM 801 659 Bloomery waste and slag

Sponsor: Forest Enterprise Locher.

J E Kirby 1995

Six roofed buildings, what may be two unroofed buildings, one of which is open ended, and an enclosure are depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire 1875, sheet xvii).

One unroofed building and a four compartment enclosure are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1973).

Information from RCAHMS (SAH), 30 April 1998.

Activities

Publication Account (2009)

The website text produced for Corantee Mines webpages on the Forest Heritage Scotland website (www.forestheritagescotland.com).

Introduction: Mining for minerals

The mineral Strontium is named after Strontian, where it was first discovered at the end of the 18th century. The Strontian mines, however, were more famous for a different mineral, galena, used for producing lead.

In 1722 Sir Alexander Murray discovered a wealth of galena in the hills around Strontian. In 1725 he opened a mine, in partnership with such prominent people as the Duke of Norfolk and General Wade, who had recently become Commander-in-Chief of the British army in North Britain.

At the end of a disused cart track, within Sunart Forest, you can find the ruins of old Corrantee Mine; the most westerly of the mines in Strontian. At the end of the 18th century the mines closed due to flooding. With varying success, people re-opened the mines several times the next 200 years.

There is evidence of both open cast mining and deep shaft mining at Corrantee. It is not known when work finally ended at Corrantee, although other mines around Strontian were worked, on and off, until the 1980s. In the later 20th century mining continued for other minerals at Strontian, finally ending in the 1980s.

People Story: "The Long Haul"

The mines were located within the hills and the miners lived in isolation.

They were reliant on ships bringing supplies by sea, when this failed the miners died of starvation. One occasion, when this happened, was in 1745 when local men stole gunpowder from the mines to aid Bonne Prince Charlie. As a result the English military closed the sea lanes and prevented supplies reaching Strontian, with devastating results for both locals and miners.

Once deliveries successfully arrived on the shores of Loch Sunart, it was another job getting them to the mines. Ian Thornber has written an example of their resourcefulness when cast-iron machinery weighing three-and-a-half tons was delivered to Corrantee Mine in 1867.

There was no crane to lift it, and some suggested that the sides of the ship be cut off, but the mine manager, aptly named Mr Bright, succeeded in making a hoist to lift the precious cargo.

The next problem was to get the machinery up the three miles of track into the hills. The route was so steep, however, that horse drawn carts could only carry one quarter of a ton. As a result 150 men moved the machinery by hand, using a well thought out system of ropes and planks.

It became an event, with bagpipes playing in the background while the men struggled on in teams. Ten hours after they started the men arrived at Corrantee mine.

Field Visit (2013)

NM 8006 6560 and NM 8048 6585 The mine worked a lead vein which outcrops at the surface here. Mining remains comprise shallow trench workings and a series of opencast excavations. A mine level driven from the N bank of the Allt Tarsuin (NM 80120 65859) drains the W opencasts. The opencast workings are associated with hand-dressing floors for ore crushing and relate to the first phase of operation between 1722 and 1815. Two rectangular stone buildings at NM 80028 65914, probably workshops and offices, probably date to the same period. but may have continued in use until the mine closed in the 1870s.

Report: FCS, Highland HER and RCAHMS

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

John Pickin, 2013

(Source: DES)

Field Visit (2013)

NM 80056 65878 The only evidence for 20th-century working is a collapsed wooden shed or bothy at which was probably used during the post-war assessment of the mine.

Report: FCS, Highland HER and RCAHMS

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

John Pickin, 2013

(Source: DES)

Field Visit (2013)

At NM 80058 65964 is the entrance to a 122m long mine level, known as Deep Level, which was driven beneath the opencast workings to explore the vein at depth. Ore was taken to a rope-operated inclined tramway which survives as a linear earthwork (NM 80016 65992 – NM 79874 66050). At the W end of the incline are a free-standing masonry wheel pit and a large spoil tip associated with a water-powered ore crushing mill. These features date from the 19th century and probably belong to the reworking of the mine in the period 1850–1872.

Report: FCS, Highland HER and RCAHMS

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

John Pickin, 2013

(Source: DES)

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