Ancient Monuments

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Eilean Ghruididh,castle,Loch Maree

A Scheduled Monument in Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh, Highland

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Latitude: 57.6666 / 57°39'59"N

Longitude: -5.4359 / 5°26'9"W

OS Eastings: 195165

OS Northings: 869279

OS Grid: NG951692

Mapcode National: GBR D8YG.BV8

Mapcode Global: WH08D.GKPJ

Entry Name: Eilean Ghruididh,castle,Loch Maree

Scheduled Date: 16 March 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6182

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Gairloch

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh

Traditional County: Ross-shire


The monument consists of a natural island, fortified by an enclosure wall, forming an approximate rhomboid on plan, which lies about 150m from the S shore of Loch Maree.

The natural bedrock, visible around the shores of the island, supports a stone wall enclosing an area measuring approximately 36m E-W by 44m N-S along the diagonal axes of the quadrangle. The wall revets and runs along a natural rocky bank around the island. The enclosure wall is of rubble construction, well-coursed from roughly- squared stones apparently set in a clay mortar.

It is approximately 1m thick and, including the external revetment, stands to a height of over 1.5m in places. The area enclosed forms a level plateau at a higher level than the outer side of the enclosure wall, and acted as a courtyard. Towards the S corner of the courtyard lies a roughly-square, sunken, stone-walled pit approximately 5.5m square and over 1m deep. The stone lining remains to a height of 4 or 5 courses for most of the wall circuit.

The fortification, called a castle, is considered to have been a stronghold of the MacBeaths, who are presumed to have come here from Assynt during the 13th century, and after their ousting from the area by the MacLeods around 1430 it may have passed to the latter family. The MacLeods themselves had lost control of the area by about 1513. The site may well have earlier origins and have acted as the natural equivalent of a crannog.

It is similar to sites elsewhere called duns, and is similar to several such sites in the Uists. The area to be scheduled includes the whole island to the water's edge, as defined in red on the accompanying map. It is irregular on plan and measures a maximum of 75m N-S by 60m.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a fortified residence of probable medieval date which may overlie earlier remains. Study of its remains has the potential to contribute to our knowledge of medieval fortification and military architecture and domestic life in the Scottish Highlands during the medieval period.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NG 96 NE 1.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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