Ardnamurchan, Gortenfern

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Alternative Names Sgeir A' Chaolais; Gorten Bay
Canmore ID 22495
Site Number NM66NW 1
NGR NM 62 69
Former Region HIGHLAND
Former District LOCHABER
Former County ARGYLL
Datum OSGB36 - NGR
NGR Desc NM c. 62 69

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Notes and Activities

Archaeological Notes

NM66NW 1 c. 62 69.

Traditionally, the bays between Gortenfern (NM 608 689) and Sgeir a' Chaolais (NM 623 702) have been the sites of at least two battles. One is said to have involved the Vikings, while the other, because of the large number of spears, daggers, brooch, etc, datable to the late 13th century, and coin of Edward I, all found in Cul na Croise (NM622 698), may have been fought in 1297 between the forces of Edward I and Roderick of Bute and Lachlan MacRuari of Garmoran.
A coin of Charles II, musket balls, etc, found at Cul na Croise, may possibly indicate a later skirmish.
Large numbers of Viking nails and rivets from a ship burial (Information from V Hodzon, director, West Highland Museum to OS) at Cul na Crois were also found, in 1924, some relics being given to the West Highland Museum at Fort William by Lethbridge. Numerous other finds are owned by Mr Sandy Cameron of Gortenfern.
T C Lethbridge 1925; S Greig 1940.

There is now no local knowledge regarding the sites of the finds, nor of the location of the ship burial. The land between Gortenfern and Sgeir a' Chaolais is an area of shifting sands. The tradition of a battle is still known. Mr Sandy Cameron is now deceased and his collection has passed to his nephew Mr R Cameron, Kentra, Argyll.
Visited by OS (R L) 18 May 1970.

The 'boat-burial' identification (supra) cannot be confirmed.
RCAHMS 1980.

Books and References

Grieg, S (1940) Viking antiquities in Scotland, Viking antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland part II Oslo
Page(s): 15 Held at RCAHMS E.12.1.GRI

Lethbridge, T C (1925a) 'Battle site in Gorten Bay, Kentra, Ardnamurchan', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.59
Page(s): 105-8 illust.

RCAHMS (1980a) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the monuments volume 3: Mull, Tiree, Coll and Northern Argyll (excluding the early medieval and later monuments of Iona), Edinburgh
Page(s): 29 Held at RCAHMS A.1.1.INV/21

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