Scheduled Monument

Depopulated township, 400m SE of BalloanSM11549

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Secular: settlement, including deserted and depopulated and townships
Local Authority
Daviot And Dunlichity
NH 67479 32479
267479, 832479


The monument comprises the remains of a depopulated township situated 430m south of Balloan farmhouse. The township, named Cnoc Firikin on an estate map of around 1760 and Glenfirachan on the Ordnance Survey First Edition survey of 1874, lies at approximately 215m above sea level, on a terrace above the river Nairn.

Fifteen buildings and associated kilns can be identified. Most of the buildings are aligned along the slope. Seven have walls of turf, usually on top of stone footings, and six are constructed of faced rubble. Another two buildings are too badly robbed to determine their main building material. The turf buildings range from 10.8m to 24m in length and from 4.3m to 8.7m in breadth over walls spread up to 2.6m thick. They appear to represent the early phase of the settlement.The stone-walled buildings, presumed to be later, are up to 16.2m in length and 4m in breadth with walls surviving up to 1.6m in height. One of the larger buildings has a bed neuk, fireplace and windows and part of a turf gable survives at its southern end. It forms a courtyard with two other buildings, one of which is roofed and in current use as a byre. The courtyard arrangement fits with the period of agricultural Improvement in the later 18th and early 19th centuries. The remains of four drying kilns can be identified within the monument. These are in the northeast of the township and set into the ground as it drops to the river. They each consist of a stone-faced bowl between 0.9m and 3m in diameter.

The scheduled area is irregular and includes the visible remains and an area around, in which associated evidence may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The above-ground portions of modern post-and-wire fencing crossing the monument and above-ground remains of a rectangular, re-roofed building, the only roofed structure currently contained by the scheduled area, are specifically excluded from the scheduling, to allow for their maintenance.

Statement of National Importance

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics: Most of the elements of this multi-period monument are in a relatively good state of preservation and some are exceptionally well preserved. They are upstanding and clearly visible in the landscape. The continued landuse as pasture is likely to have resulted in the preservation of archaeological deposits within and around the buildings. It therefore has the potential to provide further detailed information about local variations in vernacular architecture and building use, as well as upland landuse, prior to the age of agricultural improvements and through to the later 19th century.

Contextual characteristics: The remains of this depopulated township represent a class of site which to date has been the subject of relatively little archaeological research but which, together with other historic rural settlement sites in the region, have the potential to illuminate the settlement and economy of NE Scotland in the later medieval and post-medieval period. The ability to physically demonstrate the changing character of the settlement over time further enhances the value of the site. We can compare and contrast this change to other such sites in the locality, such as that at Dunlichity 1.3 km to the W, to help build an overall picture of settlement in Strathnairn from the medieval period onwards.

National Importance: This monument is of national importance because it is a well preserved example of a post-medieval rural township, displaying the development from an informal layout of buildings, typical of pre-Improvement townships, to a more clearly planned post-Improvement courtyard steading, characteristic of the later 18th and early 19th centuries. It therefore has the potential to reveal further information about local variations in vernacular architecture and building use, as well as upland landuse prior to the agricultural improvements in Strathnairn in the 18th century. The loss of the site would affect our ability to appreciate and understand the historic landscape of Upper Strathnairn, which preserves tangible evidence of the way of life prior to the age of agricultural improvement.



No Bibliography entries for this designation


About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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Printed: 03/12/2022 09:49