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Ard Neackie, Limekilns, Quarry

Quarry (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Ard Neackie, Limekilns, Quarry

Classification Quarry (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Heilam Ferry; Eriboll Limeworks

Canmore ID 4930

Site Number NC45NW 20

NGR NC 4466 5968

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NC45NW 20 4466 5968


NC45NW 14 NC 44672 59622 limekilns

NC45NW 15 NC 4476 5982 northern kiln

NC45NW 17 NC 44703 59600 pier

NC45NW 18 NC 44760 59739 cottage

NC45NW 44 NC 44740 59730 ferry house

NC45NW 45 NC 44733 59722 stable

To the rear of the limekilns NC45NW 14 is a large quarry, now flooded.

J R Hume 1977.


Publication Account (1995)

Ard Neackie is a rocky promontory, virtually an island, connected with the mainland by a sandy spit. The stone pier which served the ferry across Loch Eriboll to Portnancon was built in the early 19th century by the Sutherland/Stafford family together with the Heilem Inn nearby, the simple harled and slated house which has a worn coat-of arms over its front door. The Countess of Sutherland and her husband the Marquis of Stafford had bought the Reay estate from the Mackays in 1829, and the Marquis of Stafford built a road to connect this part of the country with Tongue. Moin House (NC 518600) beside the A 838 between Hope and Tongue was a refuge on this road; a plaque on it records 'This house erected for the refuge of the traveller serves to commemorate the construction of the road across the deep and dangerous morass of the Moin... in the year 1830'.

On the promontory are four unusually large and well preserved limekilns, built around 1870 as two pairs with differently shaped draw-arches. In front of them is a boathouse and the older ferry pier which also served the limekilns. It is thought the kilns were fuelled with coal or coke brought by sea, though peat could have been used. A track leads up the hill to the top of the kilns for carts to unload limestone and coal straight into the shafts. These are still open (and deep) and the burnt brick linings to the stone shafts can be seen. After burning, the 'quick'-lime was removed through the draw-holes below. These large kilns will have supplied lime to a wide area round, much of it distributed by sea. The cart track also led to the limestone quarry conveniently sited close to the kilns, and still an impressive hole in the hillside though now flooded. Beside the ferry inn, the strange wood and concrete building with brick chimneys and a slate roof was used to house the kiln and quarry workers.

On the opposite shore of the loch where the ferry crossed to Portnancon (NE 427602), there is a corresponding long stone pier with a wood-piled extension, and a storehouse with external stair, now converted to housing.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Highlands’, (1995).


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