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Syre, The Tulloch

Ringwork (Medieval)(Possible)

Site Name Syre, The Tulloch

Classification Ringwork (Medieval)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) General Leslie's Fort; Langdale; Strath Naver; River Naver

Canmore ID 5702

Site Number NC64SE 30

NGR NC 6973 4495

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NC64SE 30 6973 4495

See also NC64SE 31.

Fortified Enclosure, Syre: At Syre, on the east side of the road, and quite close to it is a small fortified enclosure, locally known as 'General Leslie's Fort'. It is circular in form and is defended on the west by a ditch 36ft across and 3ft deep below the natural level. The bank of the enclosure is 9ft to 10ft high on the west and has been surmounted by a drystone wall some 15ft thick. The height of the bank towards the interior is about 5ft, the interior is some 52ft in diameter. There has been an entrance by a causeway across the ditch on the south side, and apparently another on the NE flanked by a wall. The rampart is gone from the east side where a stone wall is being built from its material; and as the interior of the fort is under cultivation what remains of the construction is in danger of demolition. The ditch has not been continued around the NE side.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

The fortified enclosure as described by the RCAHMS is located at NC 6973 4495 in pasture on the edge of the river terrace west of the Naver, about 4.0m above the valley floor. It is known locally as 'The Tulloch"; the name 'General Leslie's Fort' is unknown.

The interior has been cultivated and the bank has been largely destroyed in the east arc (RCAHMS refers). The gap in the north-east arc has been widened but probably marks the position of the original entrance; there is no gap in the rampart corresponding with the causeway across the ditch in the south-west arc, which suggests probably that the defences were to some extent rebuilt at a later phase (but before the modern wall occupying the summit of the rampart). Exposed in the inner slope of the turf-covered bank in the west arc are three or four boulders on edge which appear to be the remains of an inner retaining wall.

A 'Druidical Temple' at Langdale, 100ft in diameter surrounded by a bank and trench with a standing stone in the centre, is mentioned in 1802-10 (Cooke 1810) and may refer to this enclosure, but the dimensions are incorrect and there is no trace and no local knowledge of a standing stone (See NC64SE 31).

The date of the work is uncertain, but the size of the bank and ditch, and the manner in which the limited natural defences are utilised leave little doubt that it is defensive. It is similar in some respects to the defensive earthwork at Borgie (NC65NE 1), and to a lesser extent the work by Skail (NC74NW 14), which resemble the bank and ditch outworks commonly found in association with brochs. (See also NC74NW 3 and NC75SW 9).

However the topographic situation close to the valley floor would be highly unusual for a broch. Both position and form resemble a Medieval ringwork, but is conceivable that this work and that a Borgie may be of an as yet unrecognised category of monuments.

Surveyed at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (N K B) 19 December 1978.

G A Cooke 1810.

Scheduled as 'The Tulloch', fortified enclosure, 177m NE of Langdale.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 11 December 2002.


Field Visit (18 July 2007 - 23 July 2007)

NC 6972 4494; NC 6976 4528; NC 6680 3713; NC 6343 3845

Rapid walkover surveys were carried out between 18-23 July 2007 at three cleared townships in the upper reaches of the valleys of Strathnaver: Langdale, Grumbeg and Achadh an Eas. The walkover surveys involved recording visible surface remains by means of sketches, written descriptions and photographs of selected features, and comparing them to features recorded on the 1st edition OS maps of the area. These were designed to inform an initial assessment of the township sites’ potential for early features, chronological complexity and phasing. Topographic survey of the earthwork known as the Tulloch, near Langdale was also carried out. This produced a contour model of the banked and ditched enclosure, which may be part of the ongoing Strathnaver Province Archaeology Project.

Archive to be deposited with RCAHMS. Report to be deposited with Highland SMR, RCAHMS and Historic Scotland.

Funder Historic Scotland

O Lelong 2007


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