Monday, 30 November 2015

Western Ardnamurchan's Scheduled Monuments

Greadal Fhinn, Ormsaigmore
Western Ardnamurchan has a total of seventeen scheduled national monuments, most of which were described in the mid-1990s. They are best found on Pastmap, which leads straight to their records, held on Historic Environment Scotland's Canmore site.

Scheduled monuments are given very strict legal protection: even to move a stone or scrape moss off a surface in a designated area is an offence. To carry out any work on one of these monuments requires scheduled monument consent, obtaining which, as the local archaeological society has found, is a fairly rigorous process.

Branault Standing Stone
One might question the choice of some of the local sites selected for this strict protection. For example, the fort just by Mingary Pier is in an almost totally ruinous state, with very little remaining of it. Further, there are other sites which have not been given protection which to me seem far more valuable as a record of Scotland's history.

A full list of the seventeen scheduled monuments to the west of the deer grid beyond Camas nan Geall is -

  • Cladh Chiarain, the Neolithic chambered cairn at Camas nan Geall
  • The burial ground and Bronze Age standing stone at Camas nan Geall
  • Tornamona settlement
  • Sgier Fhada, a coastal fort to the west of Camas nan Geall
  • Bourblaige settlement
  • Mingary Castle
  • The fort by Mingary Pier
  • 'Ben Hiant House' cairn to the west of Mingary Pier
  • St Comghan's church, Kilchoan
  • Greadal Fhinn Neolithic chambered cairn, Ormsaigmore
  • Caisteal Dubh nan Cliar, a 16/17th century watch tower, Ormsaigbeg
  • 'Burnbank Fort' on the coast northeast of Sanna
  • Glendrian settlement
  • Branault Bronze Age standing stone
  • Cille Mhairi burial ground, Kilmory
  • Cladh Aindreis chambered cairn, Swordle
  • Lochan an Ime dun, south of Swordle
Considering the remote location, this is a pretty impressive list, but for those of us who wander western Ardnamurchan's hills and have seen some of the archaeology lying around, it's one that will be added to. For example, there's a cist cairn near Mingary Castle, now named Erickson's Cairn (above), which is remarkably similar to Greadal Fhinn - see post about it here.

In the couple of years it has been going, the local archaeology group has now described over a hundred sites, many of them new. Most of these have now been recorded on Highland Council's Historic Environment Record - link here - and will, in due course, appear on PastMap.

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