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Cuil, Appin


The SRP project of Cuil has now been completed.  Many more sites than originally expected have been found and recorded.  Census reports (1841-1901) and Valuation Rolls (1860-1970) have been inspected to ascertain the changes in population over the years.  Other historical documents have been looked at resulting in a History of Cuil being written.  The various dyke systems have been recorded and attention has been paid to the woods in the area and to fishing and agricultural practices.  Comments have been made about the buildings and all buildings before 1900 have been recorded along with a few from the 20th century.  Each site has been assessed and plans of many have be drawn up.  A more complete paper copy has been given to SRP and other copies will be donated to the Lochaber Archives in Foirt William and the Argyll and Bute Archives in Lochgilphead.

Latitude: 56.6454
Longitude: -5.2941


House with Children
Fisherman's Bothy 2009
NeillMalcolm(2)_Cuil Survey 2 040 (Medium)
Fisherman's Bothy: 1883
Fisherman's Bothy circa 1955
View of Cuil Bay
Field System on Plateau inland from Rudha Meadhona
Corn Drying Kiln on track to Leacnasgeir
Corn Drying Kiln on track to Leacnasgeir
Leacnasgeir (Back Settlement) Farmhouse: 2010
Leacnasgeir (Back Settlement) Farmhouse: 1968
Leacnasgeir (Back Settlement) taken by M.E.M. Dona
Photograph of Leacnasgeir taken by M.E.M. Donaldso
Steading, Leacnasgeir (Back Settlement)
Corner of Creel House, Leacnasgeir (Back Settlemen
Leacnasgeir (Back Settlement)
Photograph by M.E.M Donaldson taken about end of W
Leacnasgeir (Back Settlement)
Corn Drying Kiln, Leacnasgeir (Back Settlement)
Enclosure, Rudha Mòr
Rudha Mòr
Rudha Mòr
Ruins of North Building, Rudha Mòr
Split Stone
Double Flue in Outshot of Barn at North Cuil
Wall at Bottom of Waterfall
Double byre drain in Barn at 3 South Cuil
Ardsheal Wood
Map of dykes in Cuil
Converging dykes
March Dyke between Cuil and Ardsheal
Map of Survey area.


History, Dykes, Woods, Fishing, Agriculture, Buildings

Nov 29 2010


Cuil is situated in the south-west part of the Ardsheal peninsula in the district of Duror which is in the mainland part of the parish of Lismore and Appin in the county of Argyll. Due to boundary changes in the 1970s it is now part of the Lochaber District in the Highalnd Reion rather than Argyll and Bute. Gaelic dictionaries give the meaning of Cuil as recess, corner, niche or nook.

The history of Cuil began seven hundred million years ago when layers of mud were laid down in an ocean and by four hundred million years ago they had been compressed to form slate. Sixty to fifty million years ago when there were active volcanoes on Mull and Ardnamurchan the slate was lifted, turned and twisted. Magma broke through the mantle to form dykes and pipes. Twelve thousand years ago the ice age ended and Cuil as it now largely is started to appear through the receding glacier to reveal an area rich in geological formations. Since then the sea level has fallen leaving raised beaches in Cuil Bay and at the Back Settlement.

When humans first started to settle in the area is not known but just to the east of Cuil there is a standing stone in a field between Achara and the River Duror. It has been there for about five thousand years and it seems certain that people fom Cuil would have been involved in its erection and known its significance. But in Cuil there is no evidence of prehistory, no monoliths, no rock carvings, no hut circles. A curtain was drawn over Cuil for the next four and a half millenia with a very small window towards the end of the fifteenth century. In one of the stories in the Dewar Manuscripts it is mentioned that the Lord of the Isles had a hospitality house in Cuil. There were others nearby at Dalness in Glen Etive and Glasdrum on the north shore of Loch Creran. The tenant of the hospitality house paid no rent but had to entertain the Lord of the Isles and his entourage from time to time. On one occasion the tenant who was called MacTavish was informed that he would have to prepare a feast on a certain day. As luck would have it the River Etive was in spate and unfordable so the Lord of the Isles was delayed. Dugald MacIain Stewart (1st of Appin) told MacTavish (who was described as "but simple") that the visit would not take place and that he and his friends and neighbours could eat the feast that had been prepared. So when the Lord of the Isles turned up a few days later there was nothing for him to eat. Stewart had foreseen this and had prepared a feast between Kentallen and Lettermore. As a reward he was given Cuil. MacDonald (Lord of the Isles) said:-

O! Big gluttonous MacTavish

Whose ways are filthy

Though I have taken from you Cuil

Dear, do not harm yourself.

Stewart had bought with him two people, one called Buchanan from Dumbarton and the other Colquhoun (or MacCombie) from Loch Lomondside. A family of Buchanans were still in Cuil acccording to the 1851 census and the Colquhouns to the 1901 one. Just where the hospitality house was is not known.

It isn't until the end of the sixteenth century that we have anything else written about Cuil. On one of Timothy Pont's maps "Choul" is shown with Rudha Mor (not named) looking like a weird proboscis. There are salmon heading for the mouths of the River Duror and the Salachan Burn. In the text Cuill is not mentioned but he does say "Salmond ar in thois smal rivers." Can we assume that salmon fishing was already established in this area? Also on this map are the names of places still found today such as Lagnaha, Achindarroch and Ardsheal. Keil is marked as Kilcholkill. The River Duror is named but the Salachan Burn is called Auo Quhoultyr (Abhainn Chultie). Blaeu's map of 1654 marks "Durrour" but not Cuil and the Ardsheal peninsula is not apparent. Duror is absent from Moll's map of 1714. We see on Roy's map of1747 that there is a collection of houses in the region of South Cuil and arable land between the North and South Cuil burns. Cuil itself is not mentioned but "Dourar," "Ardsheal," "Acher," "Kil-columb-Kill" and the water of Coultie are. Murdoch Mackenzie's marine chart of 1775 shows "Cule" and "Ardshiel" with three houses in the region of South Cuil and on in North Cuil. These are representational and do not indicate the exact location of buildings. George Langland's The Map of Argyllshire (1801) shows "Cowls" with four buildings at North Cuil and three at South Cuil. Also shown are two buildings at the Back Settlement, the first mention of this place apart from a gravestone at the ruined late medieval church at Keil where "lies the corps (sic) of Dougald Stewart from Lechnasceire, 1791." Leacnasgeir is the Gaelic name of the place. It is not until we get to E.J. Bedford's marine charts of 1861 and 1867 that we get any accurate positioning of houses. The top of the first chart runs just below North Cuil so we only have named Rudha Mor, "Cul" Bay, S. "Cul" F(arm) and, near where the road into Cuil turns northward Salmon Fishery. The 1867 chart shows these places (Salmon Fishery is omitted) plus Rudha Mor na Cuil F(arm), N. Cuil, S. Cuil F(arm). With the first edition of the Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1871) we are now shown accurately the position and number of houses although one at the base of Rudha Beag and the Limekiln on Rudha Mor are missed. From census reports it seems that the Back Settlement originally included both Leacnasgeir and Port na Cloich but these recordings can be somewhat ambiguous.

Cuil is not mentioned in the First Statistical Account (1791) but in the second (1841) the author, Rev. Gregor McGregor, writes "the Bay of Cuil, about five miles north of the Sound of Shuna, is of a beautiful semicircular form, the cord being about a mile in length. It has a fine sandy beach, and is often frequented by large shoals of herring, whose visits to that quarter are of the greatest benefit to the inhabitants along the shore." Nowadays herring are a rarity.

After the battle of Inverlochy on 1645 Daniel Colquhoun was granted lands in Duror but it seems that most of the land remained in the hands of the Appin Stewarts until 1766 when the whole of the Appin Estate (which included most of the land between Lochs Creran and Leven) as sold to Hugh Seton of Touch (near Stirling) for £13,900. He was an improving landlord and caused the River Duror to be straightened and deepened in three places to reduce flooding, for a much needed bridge to be built over the Duror between Inshaig and Achara and for a stone dyke to be built between Cuil and Ardsheal . This dyke is still standing and topped by late nineteenth century iron post and wire fence. Its north-west end is built from dolomite from a nearby quarry. Unfortunately Seton's activities in draining the Carse of Stirling led to his financial ruin and the Appin estates were sold in 1783 to the Marquess of Tweeddale. M.E.M. Donaldson in her Wanderings in the Western Highlands and Islands says that the Marquess of Tweeddale bought the estate as a speculation for £41,000 and then sold it on at an excellent profit to "another alien." She does not name this person but says, in discussing Cuil and the Back Settlement, that this alien did not only demand "the current rent to be paid but also payment of all arrears, and, since the crofters were utterly unable to do this, they had to leave their homes not only here in the Back Settlement but round Cuil also." This alien was Robert Downie who had made a fortune in Bengal. On his death in 1841 the Appin Estate was divided into three parts and his unmarried daughters drew lots. Marion Agatha drew Duror which comprised Keil, Cuil and possibly other parts of Duror nearby. She married James Macalpine-Leny and it remained in his family's hands until May 1932 when Cuil (but not the rest) was bought by Harold Malcolm whose son, Kim, is now the owner.

Prior to the census of 1841 the population of Cuil is not known but some of the names of occupants can be obtained from several sources. Also James Hunter in his book Culloden and the Last Clansman states that in the summer of 1746 eleven men fom Cuil stubbornly disobeyed instructions to surrender their weaponry but he doesn't give their names. One source names nine persons as being recruited to join the Appin Regiment in the 1745 rebellion but the book No Quarter Given, being the muster roll of the Jacobite Army only gives five, four of whom were in the previous list. The Trial of James Stewart in Aucharn in Duror of Appin published in Edinburgh in 1753, a year after the Appin Murder, is an early example of spin doctoring! Here ten people are named but it is not certain if any of their descendants were here in 1841. The Episcopalian Robert Forbes, Bishop of Moray and Caithness, confirmed eighteen people from Cuil in July 1770 at Ballachulish. Three people from North Cuil and one from South Cuil had to pay two shillings each as tax on their horses in 1797. Gravestones at the ruined church of St. Columba at Keil and at the cemetery at Annat in Strathappin give several names. The Valuation Rolls give us some idea of the tenants and landowners. But it is in 1841, the time of the first reliable census, that numbers become available. At that time it was 119 but unfortunately it does not define which part of Cuil a person lived in but does give occupations. However, the valuation of Downie's estate when he died in 1841 does tell us where eleven of the twenty-five heads of family lived. From then there was a decline with a levelling off between 1861 and 1881 until 1901 (the date of the latest available census) when the population had fallen to 41. The number of households fell from twenty-five in 1841 to eight in 1901. In 1935 there were four dwelling houses on South Cuil and one on North Cuil so the population had probably fallen further by then. Now there are fourteen on South Cuil and nine on North but, due to the diminished size of families the population is now only about fifty.

Looking at the census records one can see that some families were here for several decades but others were here one decade and gone the next. There were McLeans in Cuil in 1841 and one of their descendants was still here within living memory having died about 1948. He was the only survivor from the previous century after the Second World War. Where did they all go? Some seem to have died out such as the McColls from Port na Cloich who were here in 1841 but gone half a century later. Some must have emigrated and other were drawn to the urban centres of the Central Belt. Grandchildren born there are recorded in some of the later censuses. Some will have gone to work at the slate quarries in Ballachulish. Of the 19 people here in 1841 all but about 35 did not appear in the 1851 census. Miss Donaldson's alien proprietor's rent policies were showing their effect but the overall population had only fallen by seventeen. Many incomers had arrived from eslewhere in Duror or from Appin.

Over the centuries history has been quiet in Cuil but dramas in the outside world have occasionally given the area a supporting role. Two months before the battle of Culloden on 14th February 1746 His Majesty's Sloop Serpent off Duror put ashore a boat and one of its crew was threatened by a highlander with a gun. Capt. Agnew wrote to Ludovic Cameron complaining about this as he presumed that Cameron lived at Cuil. It is more likely that Cameron lived atCaol and did not realise the difference between Cuil and Caol which are pronounced alike. During his flight to France Charles Stewart of Ardsheal narrowly escaped capture and no doubt Cuil was searched by Hanoverian troops. One resident, Buchanan, nicknamed "The Duke," who had been at Culloden and was the swiftest man in the Prince's Army ran all the way to Glen Stockdale to warn Ardsheal and others that they had been betrayed and that a contingent of troops was on its way to arrest them. Later Buchanan complained that he had done much to help and was not going to put himself at risk by helping any more but did get another man and a boat to take Ardsheal to Cuilchenna Point in Lochaber.

There is a report that on the evening of Wednesday, 4th October 1786 John Dow MacColl from Cuil was aboard a boat between Balnagowan and Shuna when it was pursued by a small boat in which were Revenue Officers who suspected them of smuggling. In the ensuing skirmish another member of the boat was shot in the arm. The occupants of the boat were taken to court in Oban. No smuggled goods appear to have been found and what happened to the prisoners is not known except that Alexander Stewart of Invernahyle and James Stewart of Fasnacloich went bail for them at £200.

In 1851 Dr. Donald Livingston, whose father had been a road contractor and tenant in Cuil and who had also resided in North Cuil, wrote that conditions for the crofters and cottars was miserable, that they were in a state of or verging on bankruptcy due to the failure of the potato and the depression of the price of black cattle. Those store farmers who held sheep alone were doing reasonably well however. Few if any of the heritors resided in the area. He also commented that the state of the roads was very good. His practice extended over thirty miles and he wrote about the difficulties of crossing arms of the sea and that he had to walk rather than ride when crossing the hills to neighbouring glens. Only three out of ten could pay for his services and he said that he would be much better off staying at home if it were not for the suffering of humanity.

In October 1901 Julia McPherson who lived in South Cuil was the subject of a police report. She was found dead and the police were called from Ballachulish. When he arrived he said the doctor should be sent for. Dr. McKay, whose favoured means of transport was a bicycle, came from Port Appin and decided that she had died of natural causes.

Before the First World War boats used to come from the north of Ireland to collect seed potatoes. Greenfield may have got its name from the fact that surplus herring was used as fertiliser which increased the lushness of the grass. This habit continued into the twentieth century.

In October 1943 during the Second World War the American forces held a mock invasion in preparation for the D-Day landings. On stepping ashore many of the troops stopped to light cigarettes. My father spoke to their commanding officer and told him that if they did that on the day they would be mown down. They were mown down at Utah and Omaha beaches but not because they lit cigarettes. My brother is reputed to have approached some of the troops and asked if they were gangsters. So much for our wartime understanding of America! However there must have been some light fingered people amongst them because two chickens that had been killed for my sixth birthday party and were hanging in an outside meat safe vanished over night. In the last dozen years the one remaining crofter lost six hens to a contingent of British Armed Forces!

Motor launches from the naval base at Fort William used to anchor in Cuil Bay on a weekly basis. One lost his anchor and chain which are still probably at the bottom of the bay. Motor Torpedo Boats would cruise rapidly in and near the bay from time to time.

In 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain, the West Highland Festival was held in Cuil Bay from 2nd to 7th July. Two plays were produced, The Lost Cause by Compton Mackenzie and Murder in Lettermore by Angus MacVicar. These were held in the field between Greenfield Farm and the Fisherman's Bothy. Apart from these plays there was an Exhibition of Music and Dancing. A pipe tune Cuil Bay was composed by Pipe-Major Ross of Edinburgh Castle for the occasion. Funds arising from this Festival went towards building the new Kentallen and Duror Community centre.

Agriculture has always been the main activity in Cuil. Many families were headed by a person designated as farmer, crofter agricultural labourer or cottar. There were a few designated as quarrier but it usually cannot be known whether they worked at the slate quarries at Ballachulish, the granite quarry at Kentallen or the china clay quarry at Lagnaha. One man is said to have walked from Rudha Beag to Ballachulish, a distance of about nine miles each way.

Traces of rig and furrow (lazy beds) can be seen in most areas even those that had been ploughed by horse or tractor drawn plough for decades but it may need the right light at the right time of day and the right season of the year to see these effects. Some areas are so steep that they must have been cultivated manually using a cas chrom rather than a plough. The census reports show that there were farms at Leacnasgeir and South Cuil and two at North Cuil in 1851. There were also crofts at Port na Cloich, Rudha Mor and North Cuil and that several families were headed by cottars or agricultural labourers. In earlier reports there were also herdsmen and dairymaids. In 1851 there were six labourers employed by South Cuil farm and four by Leacnasgeir. Over the years there were changes. South Cuil was divided into four holdings by 1861 and North Cuil reduced to two by 1871. Leacnasgeir was lived in by an agricultural labourer in 1861 and thererafter by shepherds, one of whom was a foxhunter, or cottars. Rudha Mor vanished from the census reports after 1881 and Port na Cloich after 1891. Leacnasgeir became vacant after 1908. By 1935 there was one farm covering North Cuil, Rudha Mor and the Back Settlement (Leacnasgeir and Port na Cloich) and three smallholdings and a croft on South Cuil. During the 1950s the tenants of South Cuil retired or died and their holdings were incorporated into larger units so that by the end of the decade there was a farm at Greenfield (North Cuil) and South Cuil was farmed by the tenant of Achara Farm. By the late 1980s the whole of Cuil became one farm with the exception of the croft at 2 South Cuil. Oats, potatoes and turnips were the main crops along with hay although on one occasion the tenant at 1 South Cuil planted carrots and the whole crop was sold to Barr's Store in Ballachulish. Until after the Second World War horses were used for ploughing, harrowing and reaping but in the late 1940s tractors were introduced, the first ones being supplied by the Department of Agriculture. Livestock consisted of sheep and cattle, both beef and dairy. There was a stone fank at Greenfield which is no longer visible.

In 1851 there were salmon fishers living at South Cuil. The foreman was in the 1841 census but in 1861 was living at North Cuil. As mentioned above salmon fishing had been carried on here for centuries. People used to come to Cuil to learn how to manage the nets. There were nets near the mouth of the North Cuil burn, at the mouth of the Salachan burn and at the tips of Rudha Mor and Rudha Meadhonach. All but the Salachan one are still in use but during a curtailed season to help with the conservation of wild salmon. How they managed to dispose of their catches before the advent of the train in 1903 is uncertain but they were probably taken by boat to Oban or Fort William. The daily catch could beaten to the Duror station for the afternoon train and be in Billinsgate Market in London the next morning. Even when the local service had come to an end in 1966 the fisherman would drive to Bridge of Orchy station to send off his fish. Fortunately for the present fisherman he makes adecent living catching prawns. His predecessors all had traditional clinker built boats with thole pins and square bladed oars and would row from net to net; the present fisherman has an aluminium boat with a powerful outboard motor -- much more practical seeing the wide distribution of his creels.

The first maps to show the location of houses with any accuracy are two maritime charts surveyed by Capt. E.J. Bedford and published in 1861 and 1867. Of larger scale and showing more detail is the first edition of the Ordnance Survey. The survey was carried out in 1871 and published in 1877. This shows not only the location of each building but whether it was roofed or not. However it does not indicate the use of any building. Looking at this and the second edition of 1897 one can see which houses had become roofless and that there were considerable changes in the sizes and configuration of houses in South Cuil. It is interesting to note that both maps (and maritime charts) failed to show the presence of one building at the base of Rudha Beag and the lime kiln on Ruda Mor. Combining the information from the maps with that from the censuses one can start to make headway with who lived where.


Prior to the1841 census we only have lists of some of the people who lived in Cuil during tghe previous century and before that we have just one name. This was someone called MacTavish who was the tenant of a hospitality house belonging to the Lord of the Isles at the end of the fifteenth century.

The lists include those who might have been called as witnesses at the trial of James Stewart in relation to the Appin Murder and those confirmed by the Episcopalian bishop Robert Forbes at Ballachulish in July 1770. James Hunter in his book states that eleven men from Cuil resisted governement attempts to get them to give up their arms but does not name them. In 1797 four people from Cuil had to pay two shillings as tax on their horses. A few names can be gathered from gravestones at Keil and Annat, Strathappin.

M.E.M. Donaldson in her book Wabderings in the Western Highlands and Islands says that when the Marquess of Tweeddale sold the Appin Estates to "another alien" the new proprietor insisted on all rents and arrears being paid which resulted in many people leaving Cuil which suggests that the population was higher at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

From 1841 censuses were taken every ten years (with the exception of 1941). The last available census is the one for 1901. The enumerators, often schoolmaters, were supplied with indelible ink by the government but had to buy it. To make it go further the ink was often diluted which diminished its indelibility. In some cases all that is left are blank sheets of paper but the reports for Cuil did not fare so badly although the 1841 and 1871 records are difficult to decipher. Fortunately the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society published a summary of the1841 census. Looking at the census reports in the Lochaber Archives it has been possible to draw up lists of the population. In some cases I have not been able to decipher what has been written and have had to make a guess or leave a blank.

With the exception of1841 the censuses show in which part of Cuil a person lived. In 1841 everyone is described as living in Cuil but a inventory of Robert Downie's estate after his death in that year lets us know where eleven of the families lived.

The census records show a decline in population from 119 (25 households) in 1841 to 102 in 1851 (19 households) to 75 in 1861 (15 households) to 56 in 1871 (11 households) to 60 in 1881 (13 households) to 57 in 1891 (9 households) to 41 in 1901 (8 households) to 24 (6 households) in 1911. One hundred years ago nearly everyonme was able to speak both Gaelic and English. Now there is none gaelic speaker.

By 1935 there were five households plus the seasonally occupied fisherman's bothy. Now there are 23 houses in Cuil with a population of about 50.

Of the families present in 1841 only one was present a hundred years later. This was a descendant of Allan McLean who was born in Duror (1851 and 1861 censuses) or Morvern (1871) in about 1790. His son, Malcolm, was born in Duror about 1830 and his son Allan was born in South Cuil in 1863. He died a few years after the end of the Second World War. Paul McColl was here in 1841 although born on Glenelg parish. He leaves the census after 1881. Two people both called Donald McPherson, along with their wives Julia and Catherine were in the 1851 and 1901 censuses. In 1911 one Donald and descendants of the other were still here. Many people were here one census and gone the next. In general there was a quick turn over of people living here. This was probably the result of the insecurity of tenure that prevaled before the Napier Reprt and subsequent crofting reforms.

Starting in the 1881 census children and grandchidren start appearing who were born in the greater Glasgow region. A very few people were born outside the Highland area; in Scotland or in places such as England, Ireland and Jamaica.

There are no descendants of anyone living here a hundred years ago. The longest established resident came here in 1935 (Kim Malcolm) and there is only one person who was actually born in Cuil (me).

Nowadays many of the persons living in Cuil are retired or semi-retired but some are gainfully employed at farming, building restoration, market gardening and as an estate agent. There is one B&B and two holiday homes.


RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: 8.16

There are both stone and turf dykes in Cuil. The stone ones form march dykes between Cuil and Ardsheal, Lagnaha and Inshaig and within Cuil between North and South Cuil and North Cuil and the Back Settlement. The Cuil/Ardsheal dyke was built at the instigation of Hugh Seton of Touch (who owned the Appin Estate) in 1771. It was never completed due to Ardsheal, then forfeited to the Crown, not having enough money! There remains a gap of about 1.5 km below the summit of the Ardsheal Hill where the remains of a very broken turf dyke can be found. In late Victorian times the dyke was surmounted by an iron post and wire fence which also filled the gap. The North/South Cuil dyke is similarly augmented but, in the flat of Cuil, most of the stone has been removed, probably to build four houses on South Cuil between 1871 and 1883. Part of the North Cuil/Back Settement dyke is of turf and part is now absent the area having been flooded in the mid-1930s to prevent stock wandering into an extensive peat bed. South Cuil, North Cuil (Greenfield) and the Back Settlement all have head dykes. Part of the South Cuil one is of turf. Turf dykes can be found in several places and are older than the stone ones. At the Back Settlement there is a kailyard surrounded by such dykes and near the base of Rudha Mor there are several which relate to earlier agricultural divisions. On the plateau inland from Rudha Meadhonach Bay turf dykes surround a field system and across it is another turf dyke. To the south of this rig and furrow can be made out with the lines being straight but to the north the lines show a reverse-S formation. On South Cuil there are several turf dykes which, in places, must represent slightly different boundaries from those now present. On North Cuil two turf dykes which used to contain the in-field, where there is rig and furrow on each side, converge until they are about three metres apart near a burn. This must have been so constructed to help bringing in the stock from the hill.


There are two main wooded areas. The first is the Ardsheal wood which runs along both sides of the original road into Ardsheal. The trees here are alder, hazel, birch and beech with a few oaks. There is much evidence of coppicing. In the north-east corner of South Cuil the wood also shows evidence of coppicing and the trees here are similar. Here there is evidence from looking at old photographs and maps that the wood has increased in extent. In one area trees are growing over rig and furrow. The South Cuil and Back Settlement escarpments are wooded and, again, the latter shows signs of coppicing. Other small woods are increasing in size and a few new ones have sprung up no doubt reflecting a change in grazing practices.


Timothy Pont's map of about 1595 shows a fish heading for the mouth of the River Duror and the accompanying text says that the river is good for salmon. So it is probable that salmon fishing of one sort or another has been carried on here for over four hundred years. There is a fisherman's bothy on North Cuil which was probably purpose built, perhaps in the early 19th century. It has seen changes over the years and is now smaller than originally and now has a corrugated iron roof rather than a thatched one. It is still in use although the season has been curtailed in an attempt to conserve wild salmon. At one time people used to come to Cuil to learn how to set out the traditional bag net which is still used.


The agricultural practices in Cuil have followed the pattern of elsewhere in the West Highlands. By the time of the First Statistical Report (c.1785) sheep were beginning to replace cattle and by the time of the second blackface sheep were being interbred with Cheviot or Leicester. Transhumance took place at one time and there is mention of Cuil Sheilings in various documents but it is not now possible to determine where these were. Rig and furrow cultivation was replaced probably in the middle of the 19th century when field drains, mainly of shingle from the shore, were introduced but evidence of them is widespread even in areas that were ploughed for many decades. Ploughing is now a thing of the past.

Peat, along with wood, was the main source of fuel. An extensive peat bed inland from Rudha Mor Bay was deliberatley flooded by damming a burn in the mid-1930s to prevent stock foundering. Other peat beds can be found at the base of Rudha Mor and high on the north-east part of the South Cuil hill.


Apart from some of the turf dykes and the dubious exception of one site all the buildings in Cuil date from the 19th or 20th centuries. The six sites from the 20th century have been addd so that should some researcher in the future find them there will be a clue as to what they were about when no-one is left that knows. The buildings can be divided into two groups, those before and those after the Age of Agricultural Improvement. When this arrived in the area is not known but, as the tenant of the Back Settlement paid a much higher annual rent (£42.1s.0d.) than anyone else in Cuil and lived in a stone house with square corners, lime mortar and a hearth at each end, it is probable that it was shortly before that date. Improvements in drainage and dressing of the fields came into effect about the same time. Unfortunately nearly all the records of the Appin Estate, of which Cuil was a part, were burnt when Appin House was sold in 1959. In South Cuil four houses were built between 1871, the date of the First Ordnance Survey, and 1883, when three of them show in a photograph taken by Erskine Beveridge. From these two sources the distribution of the buildings can be seen to be vey different, something that can be confirmed when the Second Ordnance Survey is looked at. Of the buildings constructed before the Age of Agricultural Improvement only one is still in use. This is the fisherman's bothy and this can be seen to have been the subject of many changes over the years. It was probably purpose built to house fishermen and to store their nets and other paraphernalia but is now much shorter than originally and with a corrugated iron roof rather than thatch. All the other buildings from this era are now ruinous some to the extent that only footings or the presence of a house platform can be made out. The four houses on South Cuil have all been much modified since they ceased to be used for agricultural purposes during the past fifty years and are now private residences. On North Cuil the farmhouse at Greenfield has been modified as well. It has three roof lines as well as an area of flat roof added in the 1970s. It is difficult to be sure which part came first but it appears to have been subject to one or two extensions. Some of the stonework seems to be quite ancient and possibly that there was another house here which was incorporated into the present one. The nearby barn and steading have also been much changed in the past thirty years as it is now a private dwelling.


Dec 01 2010


The following sites have recently been submitted to RCAHMS and are included in their Canmore database. This has been cross referenced. In Canmore a more detailed description than that found here can be found. A paper copy has been produced and in time should be available at SRP, the archives of the Appin Historical Society, the Lochaber Archives in Fort William and the Argyll and Bute Archives in Lochgilphead. This also includes lists of persons living in Cuil prior to the first census in 1841 along with the Census Reports from 1841 to 1901 (the 1911 one should be available later this year) and the Valuation Rolls for every fifth year from 1860 to 1970.

Reference is made to Bedford's Maritime Charts of 1861 (MC1) and 1867 (MC2) and the First (OS1) and Second (OS2) Ordnance Surveys which were carried out in 1871 and 1897.

Photographs by Erskine Beveridge taken on 14th July 1883 are in the RCAHMS Canmore collection and can be seen there. Those by M.E.M. Donaldson are in the Highland Council's Am Baile photographic collections and can be viewed there. These were taken from about the end of the First World War. She probably took more photographs of Cuil than anywhere else with the exception of Sanna on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula where she lived. The exact dates of her photographs are unknown.

1. A Vanished House. NM 9822 5470.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 9:02

This is shown on MC2 and OS1 as a roofed house. No remains can now be found.

2. A Cairn. NM 9812 5476.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 9.01

This is not shown on any maps and is probably a field clearance cairn.

3. 1 South Cuil. NM 9819 5485.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 9.03

This house was built between 1871 and 1883. It consisted of a central two storeyed dwelling house with two rooms downstairs and two upstairs, all with their own hearth. Flanking this to the south-west were a calf house, stable and byre. To the north-east were a barn with doors on opposing walls and an open-fronted implement shed. All originally had cobble floors. A dairy was added in front of the barn sometime between 1883 and 1897. A bathroom and scullery were added in 1935 when water was introduced by pipe from a catchment tank in a nearby burn. Renovations starting in 1988 incorporated the agricultural parts of the building into living areas. During these it became apparant that an older building had been incorporated into one of the ground floor rooms. The roof is of Ballachulish slate as are the rooves of the other three houses and the barn on South Cuil.

4. 2 South Cuil. NM 9833 5508.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 9.04

This was built between 1871 and 1883. It became ruinous during the Second World War. Cartographic and photographic evidence shows that it was a T-shaped building with the leg of the T being for agricultural use. The roof line of the T is a little lower than the main part of the building. It has now been turned into a walled garden.

5. Remains of a Building, 2 South Cuil. NM 9840 5511.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 9.04

The footings of a building can be found behind a modern barn. It is shown as roofed on OS1 and OS2 and can just be made out on an 1883 Erskine Beveridge photograph.

6. A Mystery Solved. NM 9833 5511.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 9.06

About a dozen red sandstone blocks can be found at the edge of the South Cuil Burn. They measure 60 by 40 by 35 cms. They came from what was until recently the Glencoe Hospital part of which was demolished in 1965. This had been the Scottish mansion of Lord Strathcona.

7. Barn, 3 South Cuil. NM 9837 5514.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 9.05

This building is shown on OS2 but not OS1 and can be seen in the backgound of Erskine Beveridge's 1883 photograph. It is two storeyed. The ground floor contains an byre and an open-fronted implement shed. These are both cobbled, the byre having a double byre drain. At the back (south) there are the remains of an outshot and another one made of wood had been added to the west wall. The barn was renovated about twenty years ago. It is entered through a door on the north (long) wall by a stone staircase which had been added at some time. There is no opposing door.

8. 3 South Cuil. NM 9836 5514.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 9.05

This house can be found on OS2 but not OS1. It can be seen in the 1883 photograph by Erskine Beveridge. Here it is a one storeyed building with a single chimney whereas by 1935 it was two storeyed with two dormer windows and two chimneys. There are two rooms downstairs and two up. Integral with the dwelling part is a byre entered through a separate door. Here slots in the wall heads for the original rafters can be seen. It has a cobbled floor.

9. 4 South Cuil. NM 9839 5550.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 9.07

There were two buildings in this area on OS1 and OS2. It cannot be seen on Erskine Beveridge's 1883 photograph. However, this building was almost certainly built at the same time (1871 - 1883) as the other buildings on South Cuil. It was a small dwelling house with a single dormer window. At its north end was an open-fronted implement shed. No agricultural building was attached and none is seen on a photograph taken in 1935. However, nearby there is now a wooden steading. Two mounds in the garden may represent the second building shown on earlier maps. The dwelling house was renovated in the mid 1950s when it was bought by the wife of the Third Lord of the Admiralty which accounts for a porthole window!

10. An Illicit Still. NM 9887 5593.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 12

Oral tradition tells us that there was a still in the South Cuil Wood. Up a steep slope, under an overhang and at the bottom of a waterfall a drystone wall can be found. This measured 2.8 long by 1.0 high by 0.7 wide and it encloses a small flat area. I think that this can only have been built in conjunction with the still.

11. House Platform, North Cuil. NM 9827 5589.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 8.01

This is not shown on any maps. There is an irregular and incomplete rectangle of stones which probably represents a house platform.

12. House Platforms and Enclosure, North Cuil. NM 9815 5582.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 8

OS1 shows an unroofed house in an enclosure. It is not shown on OS2. The enclosure is still obvious, surrounded by turf dykes but there is no sign of the house. It looks as if there may well have been another building at the other corner of the enclosure.

13. Stackyard, Greenfield Farm, North Cuil. NM 9808 5572.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 8.04

Five stack bases can be identfied here. Probably there were more originally. They measure about 2.5 metres in diameter and are about 10 cms above the adjacent ground. Nearby is a rectangular base, this time of a Dutch barn built towards the end of the Second World War from timber washed up on the shore. This was demolished in the 1950s as was a stone walled fank nearby. All that is left of this is the concrete dip.

14. Barn, Greenfield Farm, North Cuil. NM 9796 5568.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 9.03

This building is shown on OS1 and can be seen in the background of a photograph by Erskine Beveridge taken in 1883. It is a two storeyed building with a stable, two byres and an open-fronted implement shed on the ground floor and a barn and bothy on the upper level which is reached by ramps at the back of the building. At the west end and the adjacent north side there are two outshots. It has been much altered in the last thirty years and is now a private residence. The floors downstairs were originally cobbled with central byre drains. In one outshot there is double flue but no external chimney. The purpose of the flues remains a mystery. In the floor of the barn there were slots so that fodder could be easily passed down to the byre or stable downstairs. On the south wall was a small opposing door. Beside the main door was a building that housed a paraffin fuelled engine for driving the threshing machine. This no longer exists.

15. Byre Dwelling, Greenfield Farm, North Cuil. NM 9790 5571.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 8.05

This building can be seen in the same photograph as the barn and in a photograph of 1934. In these it is roofed, probably with corrugated iron, and has two windows either side of a central door. It is now unroofed and the front wall has been removed.

16. Greenfield Farmhouse, North Cuil. NM 9793 5565.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.06

This farmhouse has been much altered since it was first built, possibly about 1850. It has three roof lines suggesting additions in the past but it is not possible to tell which bit came first. It had a dairy which was entered by a separate external doorway. Internally it has been much altered in the past forty years.

17. Small Building and Enclosure, Greenfield Farm, North Cuil. NM 9797 5561.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.17

OS1 and OS2 show a small roofed building and enclosure. Now it is reduced to a scattered number of stones but the outline can be made out. Possibly a larger building once stood here.

18. Salmon Fishery. NM 9787 5529.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 10

MC1 shows a building here and OS1 shows it to be unroofed. Nearby on the chart are written the words "Salmon Fishery." Nothing can now be found of this building.

19. House at Mouth of North Cuil Burn. NM 9771 5553.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.07

This house is shown as roofed on OS1 but unroofed on OS2. It was photographed by Erskine Bevridge in 1883 and can be seen to be a small, drystone building with a thatched roof. Outside stand three children. It has not been possible to identify them. Nowadays only a few stones can be found in a swamp.

20. Corn Drying Kiln, Garden of Balnagowan House. NM 9770 5557.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.03

This is found in the north-west corner of this garden. The external opening of the airvent can be seen. The interior contains much debris.

21. Fisherman's Bothy. NM 9756 5543.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.08

Salmon fishing has been carried out in Cuil Bay for at least 200 years and probably much longer. This bothy is shown on MC1 and 2 and OS1 and 2. Erskine Beveridge took two photographs of it in 1883. At that time it was much longer than it is at present and was thatched. Looking at the front (north-east) wall it is apparent that there are two building styles. One used larger, rounder stones and the other smaller more rectangular ones. The two styles are demarcated by a very obvious line on the front wall. It is probable that the building was damaged by a winter storm and the seaward end rebuilt in a more modern manner. Beveridge's photograph shows the seaward corners to be square whereas photographs taken in the 1950s show the inland ends to be rounded. Much of the inland end became roofless at some time and the thatch was applied in a new style and a chimney in a built-up gable end added. Originally it seems the stonework was entirely drystone but in the rebuilt part lime mortar had been used. The walls are of two layers with rubble infill. About 1958 a new roof was much needed and it was impossible to obtain thatch or a thatcher and so a corrugated iron roof was installed. Pegs for holding down the thatch can still be seen on the outside of the walls and three of the four crucks are still in place. The floors are cobbled. At one time people used to come to Cuil Bay to learn how to set out the traditional bag nets that are still used here although the season is foreshortened to try to preserve wild salmon. The bothy appeared on the cover of Scotland's Magazine Annual Forever Scotland in 1956. Shown are the fisherman, Archie McKenzie, Norman Campbell who lived at 1 South Cuil and the actress Molly Weir. A well shown on OS1 and 2 can no longer be found. It is said that the level of water in this well rose and fell with the tide.

22. Not a Fish Trap. NM 9745 5543.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.09

In between two tidal rocks there are the remains of a line of stones. This can be seen in a photograph by Erskine Beveridge in 1883 and does not seem to have changed much. Water pools in one corner as the tide falls. These structures are not uncommon on the West Coast and are often considerd to be fish traps but I am reliably told that this is not the case. What their function was however remains a mystery.

23. Boathouse. NM 9741 5547.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.15

An aerial photograph of 1946 shows a small building here. This was a wooden boathhouse built in 1935. It was destroyed by a winter gale at the end of January 1951.

24. Red Herrings. NM 9765 5566.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: None

In this area there are four mounds, three circular and one rectangular. When a nearby burn was turned into a ditch in the mid-1970s the material excavated was dumped creating these mounds.

25. A Split Stone. NM 9775 5563.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.10

A glacial erratic has been split into two parts by the drilling of holes into it. These were either filled with dry wood which swelled when wet or with metal 'feathers' which were hammered into the boulder splitting it.

26. Enclosure North of Rudha Beag. NM 9752 5561.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.11

OS1 and 2 show an enclosure here. A line of terracing along the hillside and a lynchet can be made out. Until about 5 years ago an apple tree stood here. 60 years ago it was known as the Old Apple Tree.

27. North Building, Rudha Beag. NM 9745 5559.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.18

Surprisingly this building is not shown on OS1 or 2. Nor does it appear on MC1 and I suspect that it was a ruin at that time and missed on what was, after all, a marine survey and that the Ordnance Survey assumed that Bedford had recorded everything in the area. It is shown as unroofed on the Third Edition of the Ordnance Survey (1976). The footings of the walls can be made out though deficient in places and there are many tumbled stones withing the building. The corners can be seen to have been rounded. The Greenfield head dyke runs from its northern corner. It lies across a tack from the Rudha Beag South building.

28. Rudha Beag, South Building. NM 9744 5558.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 8.12

The Greenfield head dyke runs from the east side of the base of Rudha Beag to the west corner of this building which is shown on OS1 and 2 as roofed. There is a small outshot at its seaward end. There are no internal structures and the walls are reduced to incomplete footings.

29. A Wishing Stone. NM 9737 5558.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 8.13

This glacial erratic is split into three parts. It is said to have been a wishing stone. Fifty years ago it was possible to see the holes that had been drilled into the boulder to split it but these have been weathered away. It was probably split for building purposes but the local story was that the church elders tried to destroy it because of its superstitious associations.

30. A Stony Pit. NM 9732 5557.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: M95NE 8.14

This two metre diameter depression lies in very stony ground and may be nothing more than a natural feature. However it has been suggested that it could possibly be the remains of a neolithic cairn. Nothing has been done to clarify this.

31. Bothy and Dam at Artificial Lochan. NM 9701 5602.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 14.05

This bothy was built about 1935 on the site of a ruined building shown on OS1 as roofed and on OS2 as unroofed. Its exact whereabouts are uncertain. The present building is of drystone granite. A stone dyke runs from its south-western corner to the North Building at Rudha Mor and continues from the north-east into an artificial lochan. A burn was dammed at the time the bothy was built to flood extensive peat beds into which too many stock foundered. The bothy was upgraded in the 1970s when a concrete floor, attic (wooden floor) and a wood burning stove were added.

32. Rudha Mor Well. NM 9691 5495.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: None.

This well was resurrected in the 1970s but has been neglected for the past several years and has been much trampled by cattle.

33. Rudha Mor North Building. NM 9689 5594.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 14.06

This building is shown on OS1 as roofed but as unroofed on OS2. It lies on the line of the march dyke between North Cuil and the Back Settlement which runs up from the sea on the east side of the base of Rudha Mor. Its walls still stand up to nearly a metre high and are of two layers with rubble infill. The corners are rounded. A doorway can be seen but there is no sign of any windows or crucks. It consists of three parts, a dwelling area, a byre area which is slightly narrower than the dwelling area and an outshot. There does not appear to be any doorway into the byre. Adjacent to the building are several small dykes forming enclosures.

34. Rudha Mor South Building. NM 9687 5596.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 14.04

This too was a byre dwelling with an outshot. The walls are up to 1.3 metre high and are double layered with rubble infill. The corners are rounded. No windows or crucks can be identified but each part has its own doorway. Again here are several small dykes forming enclosures. Three bits of a broken cast iron cauldron were found in the byre floor. These two sites vanish from the census reports after 1881.

35. Limekiln, Rudha Mor. NM 9657 5574.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 14.03

This substantial building is not shown on MC1, OS1 or 2 nor can it been identified on aerial photographs. It is of drystone construction and is of three parts. The first is the kiln proper which contains a pot and the remains of an arch. Within it there is much tumbled stone. Adjacent is a revetment with much lime mortar holding up the hillside and then there are two bulky buttresses at the front of the kiln on either side of the opening. When it was built and when it ceased to be used is not known. Looking at the local census reports no-one can be identified as working the kiln. Down a steep incline a small area where boats could have moored or rested at low tide can be identified. Limestone came from small nearby quarries and, probably, from Lismore or Sheep Island to the north of Lismore.

36. Corn Drying Kiln, Rudha Mor. NM 9655 5599.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 14.02

This kiln is adjacent to a small quarry of Appin limestone. The walls are of drystone construction. The airvent is not visible and the whole is covered by grass and bracken. Nearby is an area of rig and furrow cultivation.

37. Possible Enclosure. NM 9669 5603.

RCAHMS Reference Number: NM95NE 14.01

Here there is a half cup shaped enclosure about 9 by 6 metres. At the back is a broken stone dyke and within it are many fallen stones some of which are positioned in a line suggesting that it may have been closed off from time to time with wattle hurdles. At one side there are two parallel walls 2.1 metres apart and about 3.5 metres long. Between the walls there is a line of stones making this look as if it had been shed or shelter, possibly a lamb pen.

38. Corn Drying Kiln, Leacnasgeir. NM 9747 5677.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.08

This kiln is of drystone construction. The inner opening of the air vent is visible. In front of it there is a hint of a rectangular platform. Eight metres to the south-west are two lines of stone two metres apart coming from the very steep hillside. This looks as if it had been an open-fronted storage shed with wattle walls.

39. Byre Dwelling, Leacnasgeir. NM 9758 5680.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.07

This building is shown on OS1 and 2 as roofed. It is of a basic byre dwelling design with two rooms, one larger than the other. The larger room has a doorway. The walls are up to a metre high. There are no signs of windows or crucks. To the north-east are added a series of outshots and in front of the doorway the tumbled stones lie in a way suggesting that there may have been a porch here. On the hill above the house is a rectangular area surrounded by low turf dykes with another running across the centre of it. This was a kailyard. To the south-west is another enclosure this time with stone dykes on three sides and a natural cliff forming a ha-ha on the fourth. In this there are two large coppiced hazel stools.

40. Creel House, Leacnasgeir. NM 9757 5681.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.06

This building is shown as roofed on OS1 and 2. . It can be seen in a photograh by M.E.M. Donaldson taken about the end of the First World War. Here thatch can be seen clinging to the gable ends. The walls had become much lower by the 1968 when the nearby farmhouse and steading were rented. In 1978 the walls were rebuilt and a half roof added. However, looking at the ground around the present building it is evident that a larger one had once stood here. I think that the original building was divided in two by a cross wall forming a living area and a byre. On the seaward side of the building is a narrow, 60cms. terrace and the remaining footings are thicker than expected. In one corner there are what appear to be two walls one inside the other. I think, therefore, that the original building was a creel house which had deteriorated and replaced by the building that Miss Donaldson saw.

41. Shed, Leacnasgeir. NM 9758 5682.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.06

A small, roofed building is shown on OS1 but not OS2. It cannot be seen in Miss Donaldson's photograph. This was an open-fronted implement shed of which two walls remain obvious and there is a hint of a third wall.

42. Steading, Leacnasgeir. NM 9760 5682.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.05

This building is shown as roofed on OS1 and 2. It was roofless by the time that Miss Donaldson took photographs of it about the end of the First World War. It was reroofed about six years ago. It is situated eight metres from the farmhouse and at right angles to it. It has doors on the opposing long walls. On each of these walls there are four ventilation slits. The short walls have two low down and one high up. The floor was cobbled with a byre drain for the inland third and the rest had an earthen floor. Its walls are built of stone with square corners. Lime mortar was used.

43. Building Platform and ? Lamb Pen. NM 9760 5680

RCAHMS Canmore Refernce Number: not yet allocated (26/09/12)

Here there is a rectangular, slightly raised area measuring 3.8 metres across by between 4.2 and 5.7 metres long depending on which stone one takes for a corner at the north-east end. At the south corner, which is rounded, the platform is raised about 50 cms above the surrounding ground. It looks as if this was a building platform. It is not shown on any map.

Adjacent to this, hard by a steep hillside there is a square area bounded on three sides by a line of single stones. The fourth side is formed by bare rock of the hillside. Its external dimensions are 1.5 by 1.4 metres. The purpose of this is not apparent, perhaps a lamb pen. The position of this is NM 9760 5679

44. Farmhouse, Leacnasgeir. NM 9762 5783.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.04

This farmhouse is built of stone, mostly shore boulders, with lime mortar. The corners are square. It was probably built before 1841 as the tenant at that time paid a much higher annual rent than anyone else in Cuil. This was the base of a farm of 231 acres employing 4 labourers in 1851 but within a decade had become part of the North Cuil farm. It was last occupied in 1909. The roof was removed sometime after the First World War. Miss Donaldson took photographs of it both roofed and unroofed but I have not been able to find out exactly when they were taken. In 1968 two geologists rented the place. An aerial photograph on 11th June that year shows it to be unroofed but they had the walls restored and the roof back on by November. Unfortunately they were drowned in a boating accident at the end of that month. Other geologists formed a syndicate and bought the place in 1978. The house has a central door and two windows on the front. There is small window on the back. There are hearths at both ends. There is no evidence of an attic. At the north-east, short wall there was an outshot and adjacent to this is a square structure about one metre across which is thought to have been an outside oven. The area is a raised sea bed and is in a Site of Special Scientific Interest mainly because of its geology. The fields in the area show signs of rig and furrow cultivation.

45. West Building, Port na Cloich. NM 9814 5708.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.01

This is shown as roofed in OS1 and 2. Miss Donaldson in her book Wanderings in the Western Highlands and Islands, published in 1921, says that it and its companion east building were ruins. Nowadays all that can be found are footings. There is a hint of an internal cross wall suggesting that this was a byre dwelling. To the north-west is an enclosure bounded on one side by the hill, on two by a stone dyke and on the third by a ha-ha. In the wall by the hill is an area of about 1.3 by 0.8 metres set into the wall. This looks as if it might have been a lamb pen.

46. East Building, Port na Cloich. NM 9812 5715.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.02

This building is shown on OS1 and 2 as roofed. Like its western neighbour it was a ruin by the time that Miss Donaldson passed by. Again there is a hint of an internal division but footings are all that remain. The back wall is actually part of the hillside.

47. Dolomite Quarry. NM 9816 5685.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.03

Here there is a quarry of dolomite which was used to build the nearby march dyke between Cuil and Ardsheal in 1771. A lease on this was taken out by the Duror Rock Company after the Second World War but it was never commercially exploited.

48. Lower Corn Drying Kiln on Track to Leacnasgeir. NM 9765 5641.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.10

This is not shown on any maps. It is situated near one of the tracks to Leacnasgeir and on the other side of this track is a rather steep field showing evidence of rig and furrow cultivation. It is of drystone construction. No airvent is visible and within the kiln is a lot of debris. Nearby (NM 9765 5642) is a small quarry.

49. Upper Corn Drying Kiln on Track to Leacnasgeir. NM 9764 5646.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.09

Only 75 metres from the above kiln is another. This one is completely covered with grass but is probably stone lined although no stone is visible. It is at the top of the rather steep field. Why there should be two kilns so close together is uncertain.

50. Possible Enclosure. NM 9771 5652.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 15.11

A small gully sloping downhill and about 25 metres long has a row of stone across its five metre mouth. This looks as if it might have been an enclosure closed off from time to time by watttle hurdles.

51. Field System, Rudha Meadonach Bay Plateau. NM 9728 5594.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 14.07

There is a roughly hexagonal area enclosed by turf dykes on all but its south side. Across it is another turf dyke. To the south of this the rigs and furrows run in straight lines but to the north they show a reversed-S characteristic.

52. Circular Depression, Inshaig Hill. NM 9874 5507.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 13

Here there is a circular depression 3.2 metres in diameter and 50cms deep. In front is a bank about 20 cms high. From here there is an excellent view to the east up Glen Duror and to the south-west down Loch Linnhe as far as Mull. This was an observation post built by the Home Guard in 1940.

53. Rectangular Depression, Inshaig Hill. NM 9858 5489.

RCAHMS Canmore Reference Number: NM95NE 13

About 160 metres downhill there is a rectangular depression 6.7 metres by 2.4 making use of an old turf dyke two portions of which have been lowered. This was a defensive position also built by the Home Guard in 1940.

© Historic Environment Scotland - Scottish Charity No. SC045925.