Glen Turret is located at the northeast end of Glen Roy, a well-known landscape for the geomorphological conditions, the ‘parallel roads’ caused by glaciation. Glen Turret runs along the River Turret (Figure 1) northwest from Brae Roy Lodge, near the northeast end of Glen Roy. The glen is primarily characterised by a wide U-shaped valley surrounded by rounded hills to northeast, southwest and northwest. There is improved ground along the river terraces, most extensive on the east side of the river.
In the Old Statistical Account (1791-99), Rev Thomas Ross described the parish of Kilmonivaig. He states that ‘the whole parish is more suited to grazing, particularly sheepfarming’ and that ‘the only crops are barley, oats and potatoes.’ Ross also goes into detail about the parallel roads, describing them as ‘one of the most stupendous monuments of human industry.’ He states that the natives referred to the roads as Fingalian roads, built by the Fingalians to facilitate hunting in ancient times for the pursuance of deer.
An archaeological walkover survey was conducted by Lochaber Archaeological Society and AOC Archaeology as part of an initial study of the Glen Turret landscape, which appeared to have undergone no or very little archaeological study in the past. In particular, the survey aimed to ground-truth the location of several possible sites noted on modern aerial imagery.
The archaeological walkover survey area was identified by the Lochaber Archaeological Society as a potential study area due to the lack of previous work in the area. The present survey was undertaken as a 1 day initial investigation of the landscape, to ground-truth a possible prehistoric site and to identify the potential for further archaeological remains in the landscape.
Prior to survey, a desk-based study of the surrounding landscape was undertaken to identify any previously known archaeological sites within the area and to assess its archaeological potential. Historical mapping showed the presence of sheep farm enclosures and pens which aerial imagery showed a possible hut circle present in the survey area.
This initial day of survey in Glen Turret has identified significant, previously unrecorded sites, including one possible prehistoric roundhouse, three farmsteads pre-dating the 19th century settlement, a group of shielings and other post-medieval buildings present on the site of a recorded 19th century sheep farm.
See the 1870 map on the National Library of Scotland here.