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Crannog, Loch Laingeadail, Islay

A Scheduled Monument in Kintyre and the Islands, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.8567 / 55°51'24"N

Longitude: -6.3702 / 6°22'12"W

OS Eastings: 126618

OS Northings: 671256

OS Grid: NR266712

Mapcode National: GBR BFN7.8YH

Mapcode Global: WGYGL.31TZ

Entry Name: Crannog, Loch Laingeadail, Islay

Scheduled Date: 20 November 2023

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13776

Schedule Class: Cultural

Location: Kilchoman

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Kintyre and the Islands

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises the remains of a crannog with a causeway linking it to the loch shore. A crannog is an artificial island likely to have been constructed during the Iron Age (800BC – 400AD) and, in this example, subsequently reused during the medieval or post-medieval period. The site is located around 30m north of the southern shore of Loch Laingeadail, a small loch located at around 40m above sea level in the northwestern corner of Islay. 

The crannog survives as a partially submerged stony circular mound around 26.5m in diameter, rising around 0.25m above the water level at its highest point. There is evidence of a retaining wall of large stones around the islet, and the remains of two rectangular structures, one measuring around 6m by 3.5m and the second around 4.5m by 3m. The final element of the monument is the remains of a causeway, a linear stone feature around 5m wide and stretching around 60m south-southwest, from the main crannog structure itself to the south shoreline of the loch.

The scheduled area is irregular. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. 

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17): 

a.  The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. As a well-preserved example of a crannog with a causeway and with evidence suggesting multiple periods of activity it has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the construction and use of island structures from the later prehistoric, early historic and later periods.  

b.   The monument retains structural, architectural, decorative or other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, the partially submerged nature of the site means there is a high potential for the preservation of organic material relating to the site's construction and use that rarely survives outside of waterlogged contexts. 

e.   The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past, including the use of artificial islands for settlement and other purposes within Scotland. 

f.   The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the historic landscape as it appears relatively undisturbed as a settlement site within what is now a remote and sparsely populated rural area. 

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The Loch Laingeadail crannog is a well-preserved example of the monument type, showing evidence of its initial construction and use and of later reuse. The main element of the site is the crannog itself, a type of artificial or partially artificial island found in many parts of Scotland. The island is constructed of a mix of medium sized stone and large boulders, with much of the structure below the water level of the loch. It is connected to the south shoreline of the loch by a stone-built causeway, now mostly submerged, that would have provided access onto the artificial island.

Archaeological investigation at other crannog sites such as Loch Glashan (Canmore ID 40047) and Kilneuair (SM5467) has demonstrated that the submerged parts of the crannog have a high potential to preserve significant archaeological remains, including organic material relating to the construction and use of the site that would be highly unlikely to survive outside of the waterlogged conditions.

The presence of two rectangular structures on the islet are indicative of a potential later period of reuse, which is commonly found on crannogs, such as at Lochan Dughaill (Canmore ID 38939). The later reuse of a crannog site generally dates to the medieval (1000-1500AD) or post-medieval (1500-1600AD), although evidence from some sites has found them in active use as late as the early modern period (1600-1750AD), and archaeological evidence from the site may provide a clearer understanding of the purpose and date of the later use.

The causeway connecting the island to the shore is a feature that has only been recorded on some crannogs, such as at Fornet Cottage (SM12980) and Cherry Island (SM9762), while others appear to have accessed by bridges or boat. There are also likely examples of crannogs where the remains of causeways are no longer extant and/or visible. It is not clear if the causeway at Loch Laingeadail dates to the original phase of construction and use of the crannog or to its later reuse, and archaeological evidence from the site may provide a clearer understanding of its date and construction.

The Loch Laingeadail crannog has the potential to enhance our understanding of the past, in particular the construction and use of artificial islands within Scotland in prehistory and their later reuse. It is likely that the submerged parts of the site retain important structural, artefactual and ecofactual material, possibly including fragile organic remains which do not normally survive on non-waterlogged sites. The loss of the monument could affect our ability to understand the development of island settlements and their significance for communities inhabiting Argyll and western Scotland from later prehistory onwards.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

The monument is one of over 500 recorded crannogs and related structures recorded across Scotland, including at least nine examples on Islay. There are significant concentrations of crannogs and island settlements in southwest Scotland, Argyll and the inner Hebridean islands, and they are to be found on many freshwater lochs, while others are found in estuarine locations. The majority of such sites are believed to date to the Iron Age (800BC-400AD), although a number of examples in the Western Isles, such as Eilean Domhnuill (SM5238) in Loch Olabhat, North Uist, are now known to date to the Neolithic period (4100-2500BC).

The monument is located in the northwestern corner of Islay around 30m from the southern shore of Loch Laingeadail (Loch of Dead Man's Ropes / Sea Lace). The loch is found in open moorland towards the northern end of the Rhinns of Islay at around 40m above sea level, with Loch Gruinart around 2km east of the crannog and the Atlantic coast around 1.5km to the west.

The Loch Laingeadail crannog is not the only example to be found on the Rhinns of Islay, with another found in nearby Ardnave Loch (Canmore ID 37483) around 2km to the northeast and another suspected example in Loch Gorm to the southwest (Canmore ID 37388). Further examples are recorded elsewhere on Islay, including at Loch Finlaggan (SM5789), Loch Staoisha (Canmore ID 38161), Loch Ballygrant (Canmore ID 38112) and Loch Bharradail (Canmore ID 37741).

Although Islay would be considered relatively remote in a transportation context today, for much of its history it occupied a far more prominent position on the major western sea routes of the Atlantic coast of Scotland and the British Isles. This extensive network of trading and transport links played a significant role in much of Scotland's history. Islay itself was a major power centre for the Lordship of the Isles, with Loch Laingeadail recorded in 1561 as being held by Clan Donald, and the later structures on the island may relate to this period.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to this monument's national importance.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 37493 (accessed on 27/07/2023).

Caldwell, D.H. (2017) Islay: The Land of the Lordship. Edinburgh: Birlinn.

Holley, M W. (1996h) 'Loch Laingeadail, Islay (Kilchoman parish), artificial island', Discovery Excav Scot, 1996. Page(s): 17

Laingeadal, LearnGaelic Dictionary. Available at: (accessed on 03/08/2023).

Garrow, D. and Sturt, F. (2019) "Neolithic crannogs: rethinking settlement, monumentality and deposition in the Outer Hebrides and beyond," Antiquity, Cambridge University Press, 93(369), pp. 664–684.

Atkinson, D. and Hale, A. (eds.) (2012) From Source to Sea: ScARF Marine and Maritime Panel Report, The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework. Available at: (accessed on 03/08/2023).

Campbell, E. and Batey, C. (2021) 8.3.3 Crannogs, The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework. Available at: (accessed on 03/08/2023).


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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