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Groat's Loch

Building (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Clearance Cairn(S) (Period Unassigned), Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Farmstead (Period Unassigned), Pen (Period Unassigned), Sheepfold (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Groat's Loch

Classification Building (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Clearance Cairn(S) (Period Unassigned), Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Farmstead (Period Unassigned), Pen (Period Unassigned), Sheepfold (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Face Of Lochs

Canmore ID 8996

Site Number ND34SW 111

NGR ND 31270 40852

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Wick
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

ND34SW 111 31270 40852

Face of Loch.

OS 6" map, Caithness, 1st ed., (1871)

Longhouses and enclosure.

R J Mercer 1985.

A farmstead comprising two unroofed buildings and two enclosures, and a head-dyke are depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Caithness 1877, sheet xxix). Two unroofed buildings, each of two compartments, an enclosure and a head-dyke are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:2500 map (1996).

Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 21 March 1996

The ruins of this farmstead, formerly known as Face of Lochs, are situated on a gentle E-facing slope about 130m W of Groat's Loch. The farmstead comprises two buildings set parallel to each other some 2.5m apart. The S building (YARROWS04 002) measures 16.2m from E to W by 4.8m transversely over stone walls up to 0.65m in thickness and 1.35m in height. The interior contains three compartments each with an entrance in the S side; that of the W compartment is close to the centre of its S side, while those of the other two are at their SW corners. In the SW corner of the W compartment there is a roughly square drystone-built platform measuring 1.75m from E to W by 1.55m transversely and 0.5m in height. In the NW corner of the same compartment, the foot of the inner face of the N wall of the building appears to have been thickened.

The N building (YARROWS04 001) measures at least 14.8m in length by 3.8m in breadth over walls up to 0.75m in thickness and 0.8m in height at the W end. It contains two compartments, and there is an outshot at the E end. The only entrances that are visible are in the N and S sides respectively of the W compartment. The W end of the building appears to be round-ended, probably indicating that it contains the remains of a kiln. The farmstead lies on the S side of a rectilinear enclosure measuring about 33m from WNW to ESE by 24m transversely within a ruined stone wall. Two smaller enclosures lie within its interior, one in the NE corner and the other on the S side, abutting the N side of the N building.

The farmstead lies close to the centre of an area of about 2.1ha that was formerly cultivated and is depicted as improved on the 1st and 2nd editions of the OS 6-inch map (Caithness 1877, sheet xxix; 1907, sheet xxix). A number of clearance cairns around its edge probably relate to the improvement of this ground. In turn, the area of improved ground lies within a much larger area of some 5.75ha bounded on the E by Groats Loch and elsewhere by a ruinous stone wall. Attached to the inner face of this wall, about 100m SW of the farmstead, is a small pen (YARROWS04 003) measuring about 2.5m from E to W by 1m transversely within a low rubble wall. In addition to this pen there are two small enclosures, one (YARROWS04 570) lying 100m NE of the farmstead, between the foot of a steep, E-facing slope and the edge of an area of very poorly drained ground, the other (YARROWS04 410) a further 90m to the NE. The former is subrectangular on plan, measuring 7.3m from NE to SW by 3.6m transversely within a wall that has been reduced to little more than a low spread of grass- and heather-grown rubble. The latter is square on plan, measuring about 9m across within the remains of a stone wall, and there is an entrance at the NW end of the NE wall.

The farmstead was abandoned before 1877; both buildings are depicted unroofed on the 1st edition map, and the 2nd edition of the map only shows the S building. The farmstead is described in the Ordnance Survey Name Book (Caithness No. 13, p. 277) as 'an old farm steading in ruins, the property of A. Sharp Esq of Clyth'.

Sometime following its abandonment the space between the two buildings was blocked off with walls to form a sheepfold (YARROWS04 430). The entrance at the E end of the fold is accompanied by a 7m length of wall, which appears to have been designed to work in tandem with the E end of the N wall of the S building to funnel stock into the interior.

(YARROWS04 001, 002, 003, 410, 430, 570)

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS) 13 May 2004


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