Archaeology Scotland Summer School: Black Isle and Glen Urquhart

20 May 2017

This year, the Scottish Archaeology summer school will be in the Highlands,  situated mainly in two areas; the south-western part, of Black Isle, and Glen Urquhart, which runs from Loch Ness in the east to Corrimony and beyond in the west, along with a few additional sites in between these areas. The summer school will be based in the Garve Hotel where the evening lectures will be held, and coach transportation will leave for the all-day field excursions on the Saturday and Sunday. The hotel is located about 25 miles north-west of Inverness; Garve is situated in the broad Blackwater valley through which the east/west road and railway pass. Registration will take place in the hotel during the latter part of the afternoon on Friday 19th May and departure will be during the morning of Monday 22nd May.
We will visit Neolithic funerary sites, an archaeological landscape of cairns, hut-circles and barrows, a cruck-barn, a township, mottes, moats and a mansion together with burial grounds, and castles. Sites have been selected in association with members of the North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NOSAS).

The programme will commence on the Friday evening with dinner at the Garve Hotel (7pm) followed by the first of three evening lectures, when Alan Thompson (NOSAS) and Anne Coombs (NOSAS) will present a talk ‘Using easily-accessible technology to enhance archaeological recording techniques’. The talk will refer to sites that we will visit during the weekend as examples. On Saturday evening Dr Gordon Noble (University of Aberdeen) will speak about the Northern Picts project and on Sunday evening Simon Green (Historic Environment Scotland) will present a talk about the rise and fall of the mansion house and estate of Lord Tweedmouth at Guisachan (which we will visit). Our site guides will be Simon Green, Strat Halliday, Eve Boyle (HES) and members of NOSAS.
There will be two full days of field visits on the Saturday and Sunday,
for which participants will be transported by coach. Most of the walking will be easy and on the flat, with some short uphill stretches. On the Monday morning after breakfast, there will be an optional event, the details of which are still being finalised – possibly a visit to Knock Farril (vitrified) fort or a guided walk around nearby Strathpeffer.
The provisional list of sites to be visited includes:
 Carn Glas Neolithic Orkney-Cromarty chambered cairn at the base of Black Isle; recently restored by three local community heritage groups and Archaeology Scotland’s Adopt-a-Monument team.
 Mulchaich township (and possible distillery) with corn drying kiln recently prepared for public presentation by NOSAS and Archaeology Scotland’s Adopt-a-Monument team.
 Kiltarlity graveyard, Tomnacross. Moot hill or possible motte; the ‘Seat of Judgement’, an ancient circular mound on which reputedly grew the ‘Hanging Tree’.
 Ormond Castle, Avoch; recently surveyed by NOSAS. Traditionally associated with William the Lion (1143-1214) and built c.1179. Destroyed by Cromwell’s forces in 1650; only the foundations remain, never-the-less, the remains are of a monument type rarely found in Scotland.
 Corrimony; a ‘Clava type’ chambered cairn in a remarkable state of preservation - much of the roof of the passage survives.
 David’s fort (between Conan Bridge and Muir of Ord); an enigmatic trapezoidal earthwork with a wet moat – probably medieval.
 Guisachan House, steading and Victorian dairy; the house, now a roofless ruin, built c.1755 and transformed into a mansion c.1860 by Dudley Marjoribanks (later Lord Tweedmouth). Dairy complete with spired ventilator, mosaic floor, stained glass windows and coved ceiling. Guisachan is the ancestral home of the Golden Retriever.
 Corrimony cruck framed barn; unusual survival of possibly the finest cruck building in Scotland.
 Buntait archaeological landscape; hut circles, cairnfields, enclosures, field system and probable barrows.
 Cnoc an Tighe Mhoir ‘hillock of the big house’, at Erchless; almost certainly a motte, overgrown except for the summit, which is a private burial ground for The Chisholm.

Registration fees
The registration fees are payable by all participants - resident and non-resident.
Archaeology Scotland members: £119 Non-members: £149
This fee includes coach transportation to within reasonable walking distance of sites, entrance fees (if applicable), a detailed excursion guide, administration costs and expenses for organisers, guides and speakers.

Accommodation is in Garve Hotel, and will be extra.

Further details and booking from Archaeology Scotland website


Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), The Goods Shed, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV14 9DH
Tel: +44 (0)77888 35466 Email: