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Druim An Aird

Head Dyke (Post Medieval), Township (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Druim An Aird

Classification Head Dyke (Post Medieval), Township (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 24301

Site Number NN58NE 1

NGR NN 573 895

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Laggan
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Badenoch And Strathspey
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NN58NE 1 573 895.

Centred at NN 573895 in an afforested are on the sheltered SE edge of a ridge called Druim an Aird at 1150 ft OD, there are the remains of a depopulated settlement, comprising eleven buildings, three small enclosures, a corn drying kiln and an old field wall.

The buildings vary in size from 20.0m x 4.0m to 6.0m x 3.0m and are generally visible as drystone walls about 0.5m high. The field wall has enclosed a large area of once cultivated ground in which several clearance heaps are visible.

The date of depopulation could not be ascertained.

Visited by OS (R D) 14 October 1965; Visible on RAF air photograph CPE/Scot/UK 1777: 3213

A township, comprising nine unroofed buildings, three enclosures and a head-dyke is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Inverness-shire 1872, sheet cxv). Ten unroofed buildings, three enclosures and the head-dyke are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1971).

Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 26 September 1996.


Publication Account (2009)

The website text produced for Druim an Aird webpages on the Forest Heritage Scotland website (

Introduction: On the ridge of a slope

The remains of the township of Druim an Aird lie on a terrace on the steep slopes of Beinn Dover. Today you can trace the stone outlines of sixteen buildings, two corn drying kilns and several stone walled enclosures.

The township's name may come from the Gaelic words Druim (a ridge) and "ord" or "uird", which means "mountain of a round form and steep"; referring to its physical location.

In a letter in 1572, Lord Huntly wrote about the lands of "The Ord and Strathmashie"; perhaps referring to the site. Nearly a hundred years later, Robert Gordon's map marked the site as Drumin-Ord adding further weight to this conclusion.

Parish records for Laggan showed that people were being born and getting married in Druim an Aird right up until the end of the 18th century. By the end of the 19th century, however, maps show the township to be abandoned.

People Story: The Black Watch Mutiny

On the 18th June 1743, Malcolm MacPherson of Druim an Aird was shot at the Tower of London. A corporal in His Majesty's service, the courts found Malcolm guilty of playing a part in the infamous Mutiny of the Black Watch.

The Black Watch was the Highland Regiment of the British army. Originally created in 1725 by King George I to maintain order in the Highlands, it still exists today as part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

In 1743, the Highland Regiment marched to London, where their orders were to go to France to fight.

"The day before their departure a report circulated amongst the men that their real destination was the West Indies, at the time considered the grave of Europeans"

Duke of Athole (1893) in "Narrative of the Mutiny in the Black Watch in 1743"

On the 17th of May, more than one hundred Highland soldiers gathered on Finchley Common in London. They decided to abandon their posts and return to the Highlands.

The army chased and captured them at Lady Wood, near Northampton. The full weight of military justice fell upon them. All the Highlanders were put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to death.

Malcolm Macpherson was a well respected officer and one of only three whose sentence was carried out. The court identified them as the ringleaders; an accusation Malcom denied to the end.

"to the last declared that he never advised any person to go away"

MacWilliam (1901) in "The official Records of The Mutiny in the Black Watch"

Many soldiers in the regiment felt that they should only serve in Scotland. The [b][url=]Black Watch[/url][/b] has since served all over the world.

Evidence Story:Strathmashie Forest Community Heritage project

In 2005, the Laggan Forest Trust worked with Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) to identify archaeological sites in Strathmashie Wood. This included recording the remains of Druim an Aird township.

Strathmashie Wood is a community forest run in partnership between Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and the Laggan Forest Trust. The partners as well as the Cairngorms Leader, CNPA, the Highland Council and the Heritage Lottery funded this community project.

The project involved the local community in undertaking the fieldwork. It aimed to identify any archaeological remains above and below the ground. This would inform the Trust on how to look after and interpret any important remains.

Before doing the fieldwork, GUARD undertook a desk based assessment by examining any historical and map evidence for the area. This process helps them to have a better understanding of what they may be looking for.

The fieldwork involved volunteers undertaking a walk over survey of the woods, searching for archaeological features. Once found they recorded its location and made a written and photographic record for it.

The volunteers undertook a more detailed record for Druim an Aird, including a topographic and plan table survey. The results are available in our images section, and provide a plan of the size and layout of this township.

On the advice of the resulting report, sheep now regularly graze this site, which stops the vegetation from growing over the remains and allows people to visit and see the township.


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