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Islay, Portnealon Mine

Lead Mine(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Portnealon Mine

Classification Lead Mine(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Loch Finlaggan

Canmore ID 79725

Site Number NR36NE 36

NGR NR 3930 6805

NGR Description Centred NR 3930 6805

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Killarow And Kilmeny
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR36NE 36 centred 3930 6805.

For a general description of lead mining on Islay, see NR36NE 21.

The remains of Portnealon Mine are situated at the NE end of Loch Finlaggan, to either side of the stone dyke which separates the farms of Finlaggan and Kepolls. They comprise a drift mine, or adit, two shafts and several linear opencast quarries. Here, the veins of lead, exposed on the surface, have been mined, and have left several deep scars in the limestone outcrop. The drift mine, or adit, is straddled by the wall, and comprises a broad trench driven into the slope, with banks of spoil to either side. It opens NW towards the loch and the surrounding ground is very boggy (NR 3932 6813). On the line of this trench, 16m to the SE, there is a shaft encircled by its spoil dump (NR 3935 6811). The spoil appears to overlie a small patch of lazy-bed cultivation lying immediately to the W. A second shaft and its attendant spoil dump, located some 60m to the S, lie within an area of rig-and-furrow cultivation (See NR36NE 70). In all instances where a relationship could be observed, the mining appears to belong to the most recent phase of activity in the area.

Visited by RCAHMS (ARW/SPH), 9 September 1993.

R M Callender and J Macaulay 1984.

NR 391 678. These workings lie 150m adjacent to the SE shore of Loch Finlaggan and are named after the 18th-century 'tack' called 'Port Nealon' and refers to 'the port serving the islands of loch Finlaggan'. A low trench is transected by a dry-stone boundary wall, adjacent to this is a shaft and a series of drifts with a depth of about 1m and are surrounded by spoil which is 1m to 2m high. The trench may well have been an adit, serving to drain the shaft as seepage is evident. On roughly the same line as this shaft there is a second shaft which is now 2m deep with surrounding spoil. To the S of these workings a limestone outcrop has two deep open cast cuts that traverse upsweep for about 47m. Rig and furrow is in parts overlain by earthworks.

M Cressey 1993b.


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