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Lewis, Airigh A' Bhealaigh

Shieling Hut(S) (Post Medieval)

Site Name Lewis, Airigh A' Bhealaigh

Classification Shieling Hut(S) (Post Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Abhainn Dhubh; Cuiashader; Cuidhsiader

Canmore ID 4415

Site Number NB55NW 1

NGR NB 54013 58215

NGR Description Centred on NB 54013 58215

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish Barvas
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NB55NW 1.00 Centred on NB 54013 58215

NB 55NW 1.01 NB 53973 58233 Shieling-Hut (Listed)

The Object Name Book (OS) describes the huts as ' A number of shealings about half an mile west of Cuaishadir some of which are in good repair, and some in ruins. They are much superior in contruction to the generality of Lewis shealings. Signifies Hollow Shealing'.

Name Book 1852

Six roofed and three unroofed shieling-huts annotated 'ruins' are depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Island of Lewis, Ross-shire 1853, sheet 3). Eleven roofed shieling-huts are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1973).

Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 24 June 1997.

Cuiashader: listed shieling at NB 5401 5821. (NB55NW 1.01)

Inf: HBM List.

This group of sheiling-huts are spread along the N side of the Abhainn Dhubh at a junction in the burn where the main tributary turns due S, and the smaller turns NW.

The group totals at least eleven huts and includes the traditional stone and earth type, more modern plywood, corrugated iron or breeze block construction and one stone and breeze block built cottage along with two rebuilt single decker buses. All of the traditional huts are unroofed whereas those of more recent construction would appear to still be is use, most likely for temporary accommodation when peat cutting is in operation.

Three huts (NB 53894 58137, NB 53912 58151 and NB 53931 58171) are cut into sloping ground above the main tributary of the burn and lie NW to SE. On average they measure about 7.60m by 5.70m, are built in stone with turfs banked to roof height on the external wall. All have gabled ends and a chimney in the NE elevation. Two of the three have the remains of roof trusses which have collapsed into the interior. Entrances are on the E side of the building. All have the appearance of an grass mound when viewed from ground level.

There are two further traditional shieling huts, at NB 53973 58231 (see NB55NW 1.01, listed by Historic Scotland) and NB 54013 58215 (also Listed by Historic Scotland) which lie NE to SW. The more northerly of these two is larger than the three described above, has an entrance on the E and the S gable has collapsed. The latter, is also built of stone and turf, retains a more modern breeze block chimney with some further breeze block modifications at the door. The heavily overgrown footings of one further shieling-hut was found at NB 53905 58109 (ngr obtained from hand held GPS Garmin).

A further seven huts of more recent construction were noted at this site (NB 53941 95851, NB 53964 58262, NB 54008 58270, NB 54048 58239, NB 54101 58240, NB 54127 58195 and NB 54032 58163) all constructed with various types of material including plywood, corrugated iron, breeze block and in one case, stone. At least two of these appear to have been placed on the foundations of previous huts, but without any excavation this cannot be confirmed. Only four of the seven retain roofs.

In addition, the remains of two single decker buses have been utlised as huts, one is a late 1950s type with an additional half deck at the rear, the other a short wheelbase early 1950s type still with destination board.

Visited by RCAHMS (DE), 4 August 2005


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