Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Lairg Station

Field System (Prehistoric), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Site Name Lairg Station

Classification Field System (Prehistoric), Hut Circle(S) (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 5101

Site Number NC50SE 38

NGR NC 5802 0251

NGR Description Centred NC 5802 0251

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2022.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Creich (Sutherland)
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC50SE 38 centred 5802 0251.

(NC 5799 0270) Enclosure (NR)

(A: NC 5806 0254) Hut Circle (NR)

(B: NC 5798 0249) Enclosure and Hut Circle (NR)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1970)

Beyond Lairg Station on the E side of the road to Bonar-Bridge, immediately above it, and in the birch wood, is a group of a dozen small mounds and the remains of a hut circle. About 300 yards further S is another group of about fourteen mounds, and a well- preserved hut circle; abutting on the hut exterior in the S is a smaller broken-down enclosure. About 100 yards E of the last hut is another hut circle and three mounds adjacent to it.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

Four hut circles, and probable field clearance heaps, found during field investigation.

Visited by OS (R D L) 29 June 1963.

Of the four hut circles and enclosures noted by the previous field investigator, and published on OS 1:10 000 map, (1970), only two (A and B) are in fact huts. The published enclosure at NC 5799 0270 seems to be a fortuitous arrangement of a curving stony lynchet and a stone clearance heap. The smaller enclosure abutting hut 'B' appears to be a stone clearance heap about 8.0m in diameter, whose centre has been robbed.

The huts (A and B) occur within an associated field system on the lower west-facing slopes of Cnoc an Achaidh Mhoir.

'A' is 8.0m internal diameter within a denuded, peat-covered wall, 1.2m estimated breadth. An outer facing of large contiguous stones on edge occurs at the simple entrance in the SE arc.

Hut 'B', similar but better-preserved, is 11.0m internal diameter within a wall of 1.5m estimated width and 0.5m average height. The wall broadens to about 2.2m at the west side of the entrance in the SSE. In the NW arc, the wall has been dug into.

The field system occupies six hectares of moorland. It comprises mainly stone clearance heaps with occasional lynchets and field walls; a few irregularly-shaped cultivation plots are discernible, average size 35.0m by 15.0m. Later cultivation encroaches on the west side of the system. Revised at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (J M) 27 July 1976.

NC 580 024 and NC 579 027 As part of the continuing programme of work in advance of the A836 road improvement scheme, archaeological fieldwork was undertaken by AOC (Scotland) Ltd within two scheduled areas to assess the nature and extent of monuments directly affected by road construction. Five trenches were opened within the two scheduled areas:

Lairg Scheduled Area 1: Area 1.1 The area deturfed measured 10m by 37m and was centred on two large cairns identified in the 1988 Lairg Survey. At the upslope end, the trench contained traces of narrow-, or cord-rig with an average inter rig spacing of 1.2m. The two cairns were situated on the downslope edge of the rigged ground and marked the transition from freely draining land to an area of impeded drainage.

Area 1.2 was located between Sites 867 and 907 and examined the nature of an earthen bank (Site 866, 1988 survey) which forms the perimeter to a large enclosure. The bank consisted of peat built upon the local peaty topsoil. Documentary sources suggest a late AD 17th century date for its construction.

Lairg Scheduled Area 2: Three seperate small trenches were opened. Area 2.1 examined the intersection between the road-line and an area of broad rig identified from aerial photography and from 18th century map evidence.

Area 2.2 was a 1m wide trench located across a long rectangular structure (Site 966, 1988 survey).

Area 2.3 examined one cairn (Site 1002, 1988 survey) and its immediate environs at the northern end of the scheduled area.

Area 2.1 contained no archaeological entities except for very slight traces of broad rig.

Area 2.2 demonstrated that, contrary to the findings of excavation in 1991 of a similar structure, the turf walls had stood for some time after abandonment. Re-examination of the immediate vicinity identified an adjacent earlier house stance and a corn-drying kiln.

Area 2.3 the excavated cairn was shown to be the product of successive episodes of tillage. The earliest identified phase contained charcoal and minute sherds of coarse pottery. The latter has been recognised within previous excavations at Lairg to date from the 3rd millennium BC. At a relatively late phase a burial, consisting of cremated human bone, was inserted into the accumulated cairn.

Sponsors: Historic Scotland, Highland Regional Council.

A Duffy 1995.

NC 5805 0251 The final phase of the watching brief on the A836 road improvements was undertaken in advance of the insertion of a drainage ditch alongside the newly constructed roadline. In the spring of 1996, sub-surface features were exposed which might pre-date the adjacent upstanding Bronze Age monuments. A substantial assemblage of probably Neolithic pottery was retrieved from one feature that was breached by the roadworks. The new drain threatened to pass within 4m of these features and consequently the relevant segment of the drain line was hand-excavated in advance.

The 17 x 1m ditch revealed a series of features and sediments that, although not open to unequivocal interpretation, were probably part of the same horizon as that seen in 1996. In plan, the key feature was an extensive spread of angular rubble beneath which were numerous shallow but seemingly truncated pits and possible gullies. The narrow confines of the trench precluded any precise definition of the form and pattern of the features, but they probably represented some form of structure.

A chert blade tool, from the base of the topsoil, was the only artefact recovered. Small assemblages of charcoal suitable for radiocarbon dating were also recovered.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

G Robins 1997


Field Visit (22 June 1909)

56. S. of Lairg Station. About 200 yards short of the first milestone beyond Lairg Station, on the E. side of the road to Bonar­ bridge, immediately above it, and in the birch wood, are a group of a dozen small round mounds and the remains of a hut circle of simple oval form [NC50SE 38].

About 300 yards further S., and just past the milestone, on the same side of the road, is another group of about fourteen mounds and a well-preserved hut circle about 30 yards from the road. The circle measures 38' across, but as the bank at the entrance bas been thickened in the interior so as to make the passage 13' in length, the diameter from the NW. to SE. is only 32'. The entrance faces the SE. The bank is thicker and seems more peaty than usual. Abutting on the exterior of the bank at the S. is a smaller enclosure of about 16' x 13' interior measurement, with an entrance apparently from the SE., but it has been much broken down (fig. 7).

About 100 yards E. of the last is another circle of usual form. On either side of the entrance, which is in the customary direction, the outer edge of the bank has been outlined for 10' or 12' with large stones. Three mounds lie adjacent-one within 12' of the entrance.

Some 500 yards E. of the road, on the hillside, is another considerable group of mounds, and near them a large pear-shaped enclosure, measuring some 46' x 70', with a wide entrance from the

S. about 20' across[NC50SE 8]. The E. wall is continued round past the front of the entrance and follows the S. side of a hollow down hill to the

W. for about 100 yards. Some 60' N. of this wall another wall runs from the W. side of the enclosure roughly parallel along the other side of the hollow, and at about 100 yards turns sharply to the S. and passes the end of the first wall so as to leave an entrance way between them about 10' in width. To the N. of the large enclosure is a small circle, with interior diameter of about 10' enclosed within a bank of stone. and turf. To the S. of the enclosure and along the hillside to the S. for half a mile are numerous mounds and hut circles.

About ¼ m. N. of the Allt na Fearna Mor, and some 400 yards

E. of the road is a double hut circle. The circle on the W. is of the usual form, measuring 24' x 30', with entrance from the SE. apparently about 3' wide. It is at a slightly higher elevation than its neighbour. The second circle has been built against the first, the E. side of the former being the left side of the latter. Interiorly it measures 30' x 39', and has its entrance from the SE.

Some 40 yards S. is a double mounded construction which may possibly be a kiln [NC50SE 40]. In the centre is a circular depression of about 6' diameter, flanked on either side by mounds of earth and stone about 20' in length and 13' broad across the base where widest. They are at highest about 3' 6" high above the centre of the depression, and lie N. and S. To the S. is a narrow passage about 2' wide, defined on one side by a single square-edged stone 2' 4" long and by two similar stones on the opposite side. Though the mounds are not continued across the back of the construction there seems to be the base of a wall in that position.

OS 6-inch map: Sutherland Sheet ciii. (unnoted).

RCAHMS 1911, visited (AOC) 22nd June 1909.


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions