Ancient Monuments

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Aldachuie, shielings 1830m NNW of, Moss Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.2441 / 57°14'38"N

Longitude: -3.152 / 3°9'7"W

OS Eastings: 330574

OS Northings: 817627

OS Grid: NJ305176

Mapcode National: GBR L9LK.SZJ

Mapcode Global: WH6LF.K58Z

Entry Name: Aldachuie, shielings 1830m NNW of, Moss Hill

Scheduled Date: 27 September 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11504

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: shieling

Location: Strathdon

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument consists of the remains of a group of turf and stone-built shieling huts, visible as a series of upstanding walls, banks and mounds. It lies to the E of Littleglen Burn, near its confluence with Allt na Craige, at 420m above sea level.

Unlike other surviving shielings nearby, no editions of the Ordnance Survey (OS) maps show these shielings and this may indicate that they are particularly early examples. Historical documents mention shielings in Glen Nochty from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

The monument consists of the remains of seven small subrectangular buildings. These range in length from 4.7m to 8.8m and in width from 2.2m to 8.8m, over walls ranging from 0.7m to 1.2m thick and up to 1m high.

The area to be scheduled comprises three discrete areas, subrectangular and T-shaped on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map. Allt na Craige burn and its course are specifically excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is a well-preserved example of a shieling group with upstanding remains dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries. This monument retains several different architectural types. These include examples built in turf and stone and at least two that appear to have been built on the accumulated remains of successive phases of turf building. Given the site's location on a shooting estate, it is likely that archaeological significant deposits relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the structures remain in place, despite some localised erosion and encroachment of juniper and heather.

The site has considerable potential to enhance understanding of the development and nature of transhumance practices in Strathdon. The remains represent the accumulated remains of repeated building on the same site, and therefore have the potential to provide information relating to the 16th to 18th centuries, and possibly earlier.

Contextual characteristics: The monument is a good representative of a once numerous class. Comparison of local vernacular architectural features in this area with other shieling sites in Scotland may enhance our understanding of regional variation in rural settlement in the post-medieval period. In particular, although belonging to the same period and a similar settlement pattern, the shielings by Allt na Craige would appear to lack the adjacent dairies or stores that have been observed on shieling sites in the central Highlands. Together with the shielings to be scheduled at Meikle Fleuchat and Allt Tobair Fhuair and the pre- and post-improvement farmsteads of Bressachoil, Auchnahaich, Deleva and Badenshilloch, the shielings by Allt na Craige have the potential to shed light on the regional character of post-medieval settlement patterns. Contemporary documents relating to the shielings survive and are held by Aberdeen University and the National Archives of Scotland.

Associative characteristics: The monument is the product of pre-Improvement agricultural practices, which appear to have died out in the 18th century. The shielings of Glen Nochty are first mentioned in a document of 1559 and then again in numerous 18th-century letters of tack, when they were use by the tenants of Ledmacay, Invernochty and Drumannety. The decline of the shielings is a reflection of the move to sheep farming in the lower glens, which negated the need for summer pasture away from the farmsteads. A document of about 1832 states that farmers in Strathdon must 'preserve the right-shealing [sic.], for at least a week in summer', suggesting that the practice of spending extended periods in the hills had already disappeared by this time.

The rural settlement of Scotland remains a prominent part of Scotland's national consciousness and that of countries that have large populations of ex-patriate Scots. The sites in and around Glen Ernan therefore have potential genealogical interest as well as academic research and educational potential.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular post-medieval transhumance practices. Its relatively good preservation, the existence of multiple phases and the survival of historical records related to the monument's occupation, enhances this potential. The loss of this example would impede any future ability to understand these issues and the history of Strathdon in particular. The monument also has a place in the national consciousness, given the strong continued interest in the UK and abroad in the post-medieval history of rural areas of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NJ31NW76.


Harrison J unpublished 2005, 'Report on Historical Research for Strathdon Field Survey' report for RCAHMS.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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