Saturday, 27 June 2015

Loch Mudle Archaeology

Ardnamurchan Community Archaeology's expedition today was into the forestry on the east side of Loch Mudle, approaching it along the Estate track that drops down from the road, skirts the south end of the loch, and then plunges into dense coniferous plantings.

In places the woodland gives way to open glades, many of them running along the lines of small hills, but most was through....

....fairly heavy woodland, with the land sodden underfoot from the recent rain.  We would never have found our objectives had we not been very capably led by Andrew Perkins, who had previously found them, aided by his trusty Garmin satnav.

That we were struggling around in these woods is entirely down to Fred Millwood who planted them in the early seventies.  His finds - described in a recent blog here - came from this area, and it was he who pointed us.... our first objective, a small stone building tucked in against the spine of a ridge.  It's very difficult to be certain with buildings like this as to whether they were animal enclosures or whether they may have been lived in by humans.  In this case, there was some evidence that....

....the nearer end in this picture may have been an almost square dwelling which was later extended away from this side into an animal enclosure.  Certainly, some of the stonework at the nearer end is very fine, the corners being beautifully formed, while the walls at the far end are much cruder.

Fred Millwood was part of a group of foresters who planted these trees in the 1970s, and many are showing their age, but he'll be sad to see these - and there are six or seven in this bunch - which must have been blown down in a gale relatively recently.

Fred had also found, and Andrew recent rediscovered, a number of small, flat-topped mounds three metres or so in diameter. Fred and his fellow workers had been careful not to plant trees across them, and they are still very visible, all in a neat, straight line.  This is the first of them.

While they could be the bases of dwelling houses, anything from Bronze Age through to shielings, they may also be charcoal burning platforms, though it seems odd that four of these platforms would have been built to close to each other.

We made our way back to the car along the east bank of Loch Mudle.  The going was.... terrible, boggy and very broken, so several of us fell, usually into the boggiest bits.  At the end Andrew checked his satnav: altogether, we had covered just over four miles in as many hours.


  1. Sounds like it was a great day out. But I think the fallen trees have been down for some time certainly not recent, look at the ground nearly fully over grown and the underside of the root structure is green with growth suggesting they have been down for a good few year.


  2. We missed you, Ricky. You'll just have to stop working all this overtime. Jon