Ancient Monuments

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Red Smiddy,ironworks 1km south of Poolewe

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

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Latitude: 57.7569 / 57°45'24"N

Longitude: -5.5963 / 5°35'46"W

OS Eastings: 186138

OS Northings: 879811

OS Grid: NG861798

Mapcode National: GBR D8K6.WYN

Mapcode Global: WH07Y.09CC

Entry Name: Red Smiddy,ironworks 1km S of Poolewe

Scheduled Date: 3 June 1986

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4389

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: iron and steel

Location: Gairloch

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh

Traditional County: Ross-shire


The monument comprises an ironworks, built before 1608 by Sir George Hay of Kinfauns, Earl of Kinnoull. It is very probably the first charcoal-fired blast furnace built in Scotland. It smelted iron ores imported from central Scotland with locally-made charcoal. The finished product (pig iron and possibly cast-iron cannon) was shipped straight to markets in the south. The ironworks was probably in blast for at least 50 years.

The ironworks, on the low-lying ground beside the River Ewe, includes the remains of a stone-built furnace-stack, with the blowing house, casting-house and wheel pit adjacent. The lade runs down the east side; this is now a dry channel. There is a slag-heap on the north. All these features, save for a part of the furnace-stack, are beneath the grass cover.

There may be other working surfaces (perhaps a forge) in the area to the north of the stack, beyond the slag heap. On the high ground to the east, above and beyond the lade, there is evidence for the existence of storage sheds for charcoal and ore. They would appear to have been constructed of timber or turf, not stone.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an early, well preserved and complete field monument of the industrial period. It is of national importance because the evidence in it is crucial to our understanding of iron working in Scotland. Its importance is enhanced by the proximity of an advanced bloomery and Fasagh, also on Loch Maree. It will encapsulate the reasons for cessation of iron working in NW Scotland and this aspect of its importance is not neglible.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NG87NE 2.


Dixon, J. H. (1886) Gairloch in north west Ross-shire: its records, traditions inhabitants and natural history with a guide to Gairloch and Loch Maree, Edinburgh, 77, 79, 83, 93-5, 335, 367, 398, 405.

Lewis, J. H. (1985a) 'The Charcoal-fired blast furnaces of Scotland: A Review', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 114, 435-6, 440-4.

MacAdam, W. I. (1893) 'Notes on the Ancient Iron Industry of Scotland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 21, 1886-87, 89-131.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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