structure at Creag A ‘Phuirt being excavatedalmshouse from the North with rising ground behindTrench 2 West wall and internal tumbleTrench 1, the East side of the structure site at Creag a ‘Phuirt in 2016Day 1 deturfing teamBroken pot sherd from floor (17th century)

Excavation of Possible Almshouse

Thanks yet again to Clan Macfarlane Worldwide (CMW) for allowing us to share the results of their recent collaboration with archaeologist Heather James (Calluna Archaeology). 

A walkover survey in 2016, carried out by Heather James and volunteers and funded by CMW, identified the possible foundations of a small building on a promontory known as Creag a'Phuirt on the west shore of Loch Lomond, close to Island I Vow (Eilean Vhow). Creag a'Phuirt means 'croft of the landing' or 'where persons disembark from a small boat' in Gaelic, and was reputedly the site of an almshouse built by John Macfarlane in the early 17th century. This almshouse was said to be endowed with 'ample resources' for the 'reception of poor passengers who might happen to require shelter in visiting or passing through the district'. The front of the building was also reputed to include a stone with his own armorial bearings together with those of his wife, Margaret Murray.

According to Canmore (site no. NN31SW 3), an Ordnance Survey team who visited the area in 1956 found no signs of the building; however, the 2016 walkover survey found hints of a rectangular structure measuring about 5.2 m x 3.8 m, which was tantalising enough to persuade CMW to fund an excavation by Heather and volunteers in April 2017.

Click here to see what they found! You can even watch a drone's view of the site during excavation here!

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