Sunday, 26 January 2014

Torr na Moine

From the road that skirts the steep hillside above the bay of Camas nan Geall, this view looks southwestward across the valley of the Allt Torr na Moine to the ridge of Torr na Moine itself - torr means heap or hill, and moine means peat.  Lost in the slope facing us are the remains of the clachan of Tornamona; much more visible are the sheep pen and buildings which were constructed after the clachan was cleared in 1828, though these are now also ruined.

A summer walk took us onto the ridge of Torr na Moine, to the southwest of the main settlement, to investigate four structures which are clearly marked on the OS map.  There's something unusual about them, strung out as they are along an exposed ridge line.

While it's difficult to be certain, all appear to be the small, roughly 10m by 5m rounded-cornered stone buildings so typical of local clachan dwellings.  These are the two which are closest to Tornamona, while....

....this one is at the southeast end of the ridge, with a small knoll between it and a fine view down onto Camas nan Geall, and....
....this one is the most westerly, almost at the summit of the hill.

One shouldn't speculate about why these four houses are away from the main village and on top of a bleak, windy ridge - but the temptation is too much.  Perhaps they were occupied at the same time as the clachan but by people who liked to be a little separate from the crowd; or perhaps they were built after the clachan was cleared by families not wanting to be moved, as were most of Tornamona's population, to places like Swordle and Ormsaigbeg.  Perhaps they built these houses in the most exposed position and on the worst land in the hope they would be allowed to stay, but were soon moved on again.  Perhaps....

An interactive map of the area is here.

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