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Gleann Leireag

Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Souterrain (Prehistoric)(Possible)

Site Name Gleann Leireag

Classification Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Souterrain (Prehistoric)(Possible)

Canmore ID 4556

Site Number NC13SE 6

NGR NC 15361 31185

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Assynt
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC13SE 6 1535 3119.

NC 154 313. A lintelled passage, locally regarded as a refuge, about 10m long, internally 87 cms high and 80 - 90 cms broad. The dry-stone walls bend slightly at the N end to meet a low mound, but collapse prevents further investigation. Pointed out by D MacAulay of Glenleraig.

Information contained in letter from T C Welsh, 4 July 1971; T C Welsh 1971.

This passage is situated at NC 1535 3119 in the bottom of a small damp gully. It runs, with a slight inclination from its entrance (or ? vent) in the SSE, for 7.0m to the NNW, then turns to the NW for 4.0m where it appears to end in the face of a low, natural slope. Access to it cannot be gained, but where one or two lintels have been displaced it can be seen to be about 0.9m wide between dry stone walls which increase in height from 0.6m at the entrance to 1.0m towards its end. Its purpose is uncertain. It seems too wet to have been a refuge, and is more like a rather sophisticated drain, probably associated with the nearby depopulated village.

Visited by OS (A A) 8 August 1974.

The purpose of the passage as described by OS field surveyor remains uncertain. Its position within a gully, which extends from a drained area of cultivation associated with a deserted township (NC13SE 4) to Allt Mharthain, may indicate that it is a drain, and there is some evidence for a drainage channel between it and the cultivation, nevertheless is is not clear why its construction should be so sophisticated when the gully itself provides a good natural outlet to the burn, and at some distance from the cultivation. The damp nature of the ground would tend to preclude classification as a souterrain, though the mode of construction is reminiscent of such a structure.

Visited by OS (N K B) 3 August 1980.


Field Visit (1 December 2009)

Situated on a slope in scrub woodland is a lintelled passage, running north from an entrance near a stream. Access is not easy, but wall faces are clearly visible in the interior and although they are very moss covered some stones are visible from the outside. The passage is less than 10m long and about 1.5m wide, and c.0.75m high inside at the lowest point, although the interior is chocked with rubble.

The lintels are of quarried, shaped stone and are mostly intact, although some collapse is apparent.

A stream runs through the passage, to join the nearby burn.

6m to the NE is a sub-rectangular ruin, perhaps an enclosure, incorporating some bedrock outcrops and measuring 20m N/S and 10m E/W. The association of this enclosure to the souterrain cannot easily be demonstrated; the construction style is not markedly different from that of many of the buildings and enclosures in the the surrounding township.

(HLP_no 151)

Assynt's Hidden Lives Project 2009


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