Friday, 1 April 2016

A 'Naust'

Most of what little I know of archaeology has come through wandering across western Ardnamurchan, noticing something, and then trying to find out what it is. My 'discovery' of boat nausts is a good example.

This picture shows part of the beach below Torr na Moine, just to the west of Camas nan Geall. The beach is a naturally rocky beach and the sandy area to the right is the result of someone, perhaps many years ago, clearing the rocks to allow him/her to pull a boat up above the beach. It's an ideal place for a landing point as the rocky promontory to the right protects it from the worst gales, usually westerlies.

I had seen this pull-up place - it must have a technical name - several times before but what I hadn't noticed was that, on the land immediately above it, there's the clear outline of the rectangular stone base of a building, a boat-house where the boat was kept after it had been pulled up. The name for this is 'naust', 'noust' or 'noost', words which have a Norse derivation. A reconstruction of a Viking 'naust' can be seen here.

In this picture of Camas nan Geall a similar 'pull-up place' can be seen on the left of the beach. It's protected on the seaward side by a line of large boulders which someone has manoeuvred into place, but there's no sign of a 'naust' on the foreshore behind it.

This building, along the Ormsaigbeg shore, is a boat house, tigh bata in Gaelic, but it could be called a naust. There are several other similar structures which are in less good condition.

The naust at Torr na Moine might be very old. By contrast, the ones along the Ormsaigbeg shore were built by the crofters since about 1828, when Ormsaigbeg was turned into a crofting township.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely image of Camas nan Geall. Identical in many ways to the ones I took just last week. I think we can all see why our long lost ancestors used it so regularly.