We've walked the slopes above the boundary fence of the Ormsaigbeg common grazings a hundred times, yet it was only the other day that a variation the the blanket of bracken drew attention to a stony area which we hadn't noticed before - it's arrowed in the picture. In the photo, the Ormsaigbeg croft lands lie to the left of the fence, and the site's approximate location is marked on the map here.
The stones were once the walls of a house some 10 metres by 4.5, divided into two almost equal-sized rooms. It sat in a slight platform cut into the slope, close by a little burn that provided its inhabitants with their water supply. Around it there was a network of drystone walls, though their remains are so obscured it is difficult to see what they enclosed. But there's enough visible to show, quite clearly, that this was a dwelling house.
clachan whose inhabitants lived in a grouping of small houses some half-mile to the northeast - see the 'History of Ormsaigbeg', here.
This Google satellite image shows how intensively the land was worked two hundred and more years ago - the areas of striping are lazy beds, and old walls criss-cross the area. The approximate position of the house is marked by the circle; the road to the right is the Ormsaigbeg road.
Ormsaigbeg's crofts were created in the mid 19th century, mostly to accommodate local people evicted from places like Bourblaige. Look closely at the map and notice how the course of the wall which was built to separate crofts from common grazing is interrupted near the house - the double-ended arrow on the map shows where the wall might have gone.
So the land surrounding this building had something sufficiently special about it that, when the clachan lands of Ormsaigbeg were rearranged into individual crofts, it was excluded. Fascinating - but any further investigation of the building will have to wait until winter.
Many thanks to Donald Houston for permission to copy the Bald map.
An interactive map of the area is here.