Lindsay, chairman of the Society, using a planning frame to draw
an archaeological plan.
Clyne Heritage Society is based in Brora, Sutherland.
It collects information and objects to do with the village and
its surroundings and displays these in its heritage centre.
Society members also work on archaeological
projects, recording features on the beach and
in Strath Brora.
was once an important industrial town and much of the industry
was based on coal. This was originally extracted from bell pits
and the scars of some of these are still to be seen within the
dunes close to the beach.
Lady Jane Gordon expanded the industry
and mines were sunk to chase the coal seams.
As the fishing industry grew, the mine owners branched out into
the production of salt. This was made by evaporating seawater in
huge metal trays, heated by enormous coal fires.
Documents show that the first saltpans were
established by 1598. A plan dated to 1812 and made by
John Farey shows the position of an old saltpan and a new one.
The old structure is located close to the beach and notes indicated
that it had become abandoned.
A set of structures
has been seen eroding from the dunes for at least the last twenty
years. When first noted by group members, the walls of one building
were over two metres high, but recent storms have washed away most
of the building.
Work at the site of one of the buildings at the saltpans, showing the length of one
of the structures
The group has started to make a record
of the buildings before they are totally destroyed. They talked
to older members of the community to see if anyone had photographs
of the buildings, and were delighted to find that someone had
made a sketch plan of one structure in the 1970s. They used this
to help determine the extent of one building.
Although part of
the building still remained in the dune, most had been washed away
and the lowest courses covered by sand. They planned the remains
using tapes and with a Total Station Theodolite. Taking
care not to touch in situ archaeological layers and
under supervision from trained archaeologists, they removed
some of the beach sand to reveal the lowest course of the building.
Members of the group working on the foundations of a wall. This
wall stood over two metres high until recently.
They also cleaned up around the doorway, visible in the face of the sand dune.
This is highly vulnerable to storms and is likely to be destroyed in the near
The group have started to excavate other buildings. Click here to find out more about their work.