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Loch A' Bhaillidh

Crannog (Period Unassigned), Island Dwelling (Medieval)

Site Name Loch A' Bhaillidh

Classification Crannog (Period Unassigned), Island Dwelling (Medieval)

Canmore ID 38982

Site Number NR76SE 5

NGR NR 7556 6331

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish South Knapdale
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR76SE 5 7556 6331.

(NR 7555 6332) The island in Loch a' Bhaillidh is of artificial construction, made of stones similar to those on the shore; Munro could find no traces of piles or underlying woodwork. It measures 88' x 40', rising 4' - 5' out of the water. On its E side is the foundation of a rectangular building of undressed stones, 38' x 20'. A short excavation within it revealed ashes. The W half of the island is covered with rushes; another excavation here produced ashes, charcoal, and bone fragments (Munro 1893). A local informant told Campbell and Sandeman (1964) of a causeway and a possible underwater enclosure associated with the crannog.

R Munro 1893; M Campbell and M Sandeman 1964.

The level of the loch has recently been artificially raised, but the crannog is still visible on OS air photographs (72/084, No. 053) at NR 7556 6332.

Visited by OS (D W R) 27 June 1973.

NR 7556 6332. The remains of this crannog are visible as a sub-circular ring of stones, approximately 8.0m in diameter, protruding 0.4m above the surface of the loch.

Surveyed at 1/10,000.

Visited by OS (B S) 14 March 1977.


Field Visit (August 1984)

An island some 120m from the W shore of Loch a'Bhaillidh, measuring about 27m by 12m, was identified by Munro in 1892 as a crannog (en.1). The water-level of the loch was subsequently raised to serve as a local reservoir, and in normal conditions only the outline of an almost-submerged subrectangular building is now identifiable. During the dry summer of 1984, however, the water fell about 1m below its usual level and most of the island was exposed although not to the height described by Munro (en.2) At the date of visit it measured about 24m from N to S by 12m transversely. Much of its perimeter is obscured by a dense growth of rushes, but large kerbstones are intermittently visible and, as noted by Munro, the island appears to be composed of imported boulders, with no identifiable timber framework. There is no evidence for the existence of a causeway (en.3).

The principal building, which occupies the N half of the island, measures Ilm by 5.2m over drystone walls about 1m thick and up to 0.5m high. These are much obscured by tumbled masonry, but several facing-stones of the S wall are visible and there were opposed doorways towards the S ends of the side-walls. About 3m to the S there is the outline of a structure measuring 3.4m from ESE to WNW by 2.6m, within walls of uncertain thickness whose outer faces may have been of turf. The entrance to this outbuilding was probably in the W end-wall, and fragments of metallic slag were identified here at the date of visit, while in this area of the island Munro found 'a bed of pure ashes and charcoal' (en.4).

A settlement on Oilen Loch na Vaylle ('island of Loch a'Bhallidh') is shown on Pont's map of about 1590 (en.5), and the buildings described above may belong to that period. The lands of Carse, which included all but the N shore of the loch, were in the possession of the earls of Argyll by 1511, but nothing is known of the occupants of the property in the 16th and 17th centuries (en.6*).

RCAHMS 1992, visited August 1984


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