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Arran, Torbeg

Clearance Cairn(S) (Prehistoric), Cursus (Neolithic)

Site Name Arran, Torbeg

Classification Clearance Cairn(S) (Prehistoric), Cursus (Neolithic)

Alternative Name(s) Torr Righ Mor

Canmore ID 360276

Site Number NR82NE 36

NGR NR 89495 29987

NGR Description NR 89479 29534 to NR c.89445 30685

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council North Ayrshire
  • Parish Kilmory
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cunninghame
  • Former County Buteshire


Field Visit (2 November 2017)

This site was identified using visualisations derived from Airborne Laser Scanning data, and subsequently visited in the field.

HES Survey and Recording 2 November 2017

Field Visit (31 October 2019)

The banks of this cursus monument were first identified using visualisations derived from Airborne Laser Scanning data and were investigated subsequently during numerous field visits between late 2017 and 2019. Much of the monument is clad in rank heather or impenetrable gorse such that its extent has been mapped largely from these visualisations. Running N and S, the cursus extends for a distance of at least 1.1km, defined by intermittent stretches of low parallel banks set between 30m and 40m apart. There is nothing to indicate the presence of flanking ditches and neither terminal is visible. The monument is situated towards the E edge of poorly drained open moorland that rises gently to the N offering extensive views inland along the valley of the Black Water. A narrow plantation of dense coniferous trees, established in the 1970s, flanks the N half of the monument and overlies much of its NW side and possibly also its N terminal, which may have been situated on a localised rise falling within its N end.

Both banks are slight in nature and barely visible on the ground, measuring at best 3.3m in thickness and little more than 0.3m in height. They appear discontinuous and to be made up of earth or turf with very few stones visible. It is impossible to say whether any breaks represent original gaps or are simply the result of natural slumping and the differential growth of peat.

The bank defining the E side first emerges about 86m S of the NE corner of the plantation to run S sinuously and discontinuously for the best part of 1.1km before curving to the SW as if to form the S terminal. Here the gorse is especially dense with open areas masked by bracken and brambles and the bank could not be traced on the ground on the last date of visit (31 October 2019).

The bank forming the W side can be followed from the edge of the plantation, beginning 110m N of the SE corner. It, too, runs S intermittently for 480m before petering out in boggy ground about 150m short of its partner to the E. Over the length of the cursus, two transverse divisions can be observed: the first 227m from the NE corner of the plantation; and the second 25m to the SE of the SE corner of the plantation. The E end of the latter has been cut by a deeply incised hollow way, now functioning in part as a drain, which is depicted as a track on the first edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire 1869, Sheet CCXLVIII). Roughly midway between these two divisions, there is a pronounced kink in the alignment of the E bank and for a short stretch it disappears. This break coincides with a scatter of small clearance cairns, one of which overlies the bank itself. These cairns are similar in character to other groups found across the adjacent moorland, many of which are associated with hut circles and fragmentary field systems.

Visited by HES Survey and Recording (ARG,AM,KM), 31 October 2019


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