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Mingarry Survey, Moidart


The Moidart History Group have surveyed and recorded the township of High Mingarry, a large deserted settlement with ruins in both open countryside and amongst 1960s forestry. We have compared their findings with extant maps and estate records and collated records of previous inhabitants from Ordnance Survey listings, censuses and estate rental records. We intend to record other sites in Moidart once Mingarry has been surveyed. The group knows of over a dozen deserted sites to investigate including further townships, sheilings and old cultivation sites. Some of these sites, however, are more difficult to access than others as many are on rough, rocky and boggy ground.

Latitude: 56.766891
Longitude: -5.784439
National Grid Ref: NM 68827 70315


High Mingarry Panorama from north showing areas of
Mingarry NM 68966 70392 Possible farmstead 31 from
s Bridge from downstream in drought
Mingarry NM 68680 69913 Small shelter or pen 64 vi
Mingarry NM 68837 70384 Altered building 46 viewe
Mingarry NM 68784 70448 Building 43 viewed from e
Mingarry NM 68702 70212 Possible still site 75 fro
Mingarry NM 69073 70271 Oval mainly turf shelter 2
Mingarry NM 68852 69715 Northern Victorian Bridge
High Mingarry Panorama from north showing areas of


The High Mingarry Survey - overview

Aug 01 2008

A survey of the ruins at the deserted settlement of High Mingarry was carried out in Spring and Summer of 2008. Eighty-four buildings, dykes and other features were identified, described and their positions plotted on maps. More detailed survey of six groups of buildings was carried out by plane table to clarify the spatial relationship of the different structures within the groups and of the groups to one another.

The very ruined remains represent the last phase of occupation (1780 to 1855). The head dyke was probably altered to include more land during the long period of occupation.  The area within the head dyke is subdivided into small areas  by a series of dykes. Some of these internal dykes follow natural features but others are long and straight. Although Estate records between 1814-1851 show that the farm of Mingarry was let in eight parts or lots, there are not eight clearly defined areas within the head dyke. Groups of ruined buildings, each comprising one or more possible houses with byres, storage shelters and enclosures were identified in seven different sites within the head dyke. Another similar group of buildings was found outside the head dyke on the east side of the settlement.

Only six of the ruined rectangular buildings measure about 10m by 3m. internally. These were almost certainly houses. Since there were 13 houses in the settlement in 1841, many of the smaller rectangular structures are likely to have also been dwellings. 

The buildings are in too ruinous state to identify any barns. Curiously, no corn-drying kiln has been found. There is an unidentified circular structure on the hillside in the northwest of the settlement but it does not have the features of a kiln. It is possible that the kiln was destroyed when the late 19th century track was constructed.  

For background to the survey we researched  census, marriage, rental and estate records and maps to produce a historic background for the settlement.

The existing 19th century access track is clearly not the original way to Mingarry - we now think we know the beginning and the end of this way and will be searching for the route in the future.
© Historic Environment Scotland - Scottish Charity No. SC045925.