Cnocan Burraidh, Heritage Project



We are very excited to be working in partnership with Glen Urquhart Community Council on this heritage project.  Being led by Eve, an Archaeologist from Historic Environment Scotland, activities are underway with our local children, young people and groups, raising interest in our history, identifying changes and mapping the site. This will form part of the national archive and be available to locals and visitors alike.



Participants will learn about their local heritage; gain skills in how to conserve heritage (practical and recording); and will also be given the opportunity to learn about specialist jobs.  We are delighted the project has been approved by Archaeology Scotland for their Heritage Hero Awards, meaning everyone who completes their activities will receive a certificate

Many of the activities we had planned were disrupted by Corona virus restrictions but as you can see in the Community section below there has been lots of involvement from the nursery and schools.  The Creative Writers prepared some super pieces of poetry about the Battle of Coire Buidhe and we are preparing how to share this and other stories with you.

To find out more or to get involved please contact Nicky [email protected]

Some background to the project can be read in the May 2019 press release

Repair Work


Work on reinstating the old wall and coping stones begins with local stonemasons Tom Nelson and Neil Reid
August 2019



March 2020


April 2020 – Pointing finished and wall repairs complete


Mausoleum cap stone repaired  –  July 2020

The current concrete cap was made of concrete, had a lot of moss and had become quite porous causing problems to the marble below. The solution (recommended by Historic Environment Scotland) was a lead cap over the concrete with a drip channel so water doesn’t run down the face but falls off the cap.  In preparation for the lead work David Marshall installed a marine ply base, securely attached to the concrete cap, this has a waterproof membrane over the ply.
A specialist lead worker then installed a stainless steel skirt around the edge of the concrete before installing the lead cap. The top is not as square as it looked at first glance and the best way to join the lead sheets was to roll them over round batons. The shape also meant that many layers of lead were meeting at the centre and the lead workers recommended a small feature as a way to ensure the centre is totally weather tight. The lead has been treated with 2 coats of oil.

Marine Ply base installed by David Marshall
stainless steel skirt installed
Lead sheets fixed with oil coating for final seal.
Completed work with new central feature








Conservation Works begin on the Marble – 21 July  2020

KK Conservation and Art have started the conservation work to the marble. The first stage of the was some careful steam cleaning and initial testing with a number of chemicals. Karolina thinks most of the staining, including the red colouration is algae / bacterial in nature. The red stain has proved resistant to the first 2 chemicals applied but there are 2 others she wants to try, one has to soak in for 3 days. When the work is complete the marble gets a clear chemical treatment which should discourage future growth for a while.

Mausoleum East side before section cleaning
Mausoleum East side after section cleaning
Mausoleum West side before section cleaning
Mausoleum West side during section cleaning
Mausoleum West side after section cleaning






















October 2020 – marble has started to be replaced. The pointing will lighten as it dries and the work Karolina is to complete will help with the slight difference in colour.


And the difference:


Nov 2018 – East Side
Nov 2020 East Side
















Nov 2018 – South Side
Nov 2020 – South Side
















Nov 2018 – West Side
Nov 2020 West Side
















Nov 2018 – North Side
Nov 2020 North Side
















July 2015
July 2016
Nov 2020







Community Activities


Glen Urquhart Heritage Group – 27 June 2019 – open walk for all to Coire Buidhe battle site. An intrepid group of local folk set out in the morning to visit the site of the battle which took place 330 years ago today! You can read the Glen version of the battle here



Glen Urquhart Heritage Group –  Stories of the Grants – 14 February 2020 – Chris Grant and David Fraser gave an interesting presentation at the monthly meeting of the Heritage Group.  This included the restoration of the Cnocan Burraidh burial ground and the history about some of the people who have been laid to rest there. The research being carried out will form a publication, but in the meantime here are the presentation notes prepared by Chris about the 8 Grant men of Sheuglie who were involved in the ’45.

Glen Urquhart Childcare Centre – 10 September 2019 measuring time back to the Castle, the clothes people wore, how houses and transport have changed and the wild animals that were in the Glen.  Check out their Blog

1st October 2019  – visit to the site, told the story of the Grants and the Battle of Coire Buidhe, counted the graves, made drawings and took photographs. Check out their Blog

19th November 2019 – experience history with handling boxes from HES Urquhart Castle and ‘stone carving’ techniques using soap.


The children completed the required number of hours and learning to achieve the Heritage Hero Detective Award from Archaeology Scotland. Well done everyone – great job! And as the first nursery group to achieve an award we have been asked to present our project as a case study for Archaeology Scotland – we’ll keep you informed when it goes live!



Glen Urquhart Primary School – 1st October 2019 – visit to the site and introduction to the history of the Grant family.  Referring to the list of grave markers completed in 1989 by Donald and Loraine Maclean of Dochgarroch, the children identified the stones and discussed why the condition had deteriorated and took photographs for their records.  Back at school the children looked up Drumnadrochit and Cnocan Burraidh using National Libraries of Scotland maps to see how things have changed, a super resource for anyone to use.


20th November 2019 –  local history walk to Lady’s Well, Balmacaan House gates and identify changes to access roads. Then in class the children used their chrome books to complete map work,  identified family links for the family tree and used MyCanmore to find and store information.



Balnain Primary School – 20th November 2019 both classes were given an introduction to the history of the Grants; experienced history with handling boxes from HES Urquhart Castle and learned how to make royal seals and decrees.




25th February 2020 – both classes enjoyed a visit to Patrick Grant’s summer house at Lochletter. Eve our HES Archaeologist, told them about changes to access routes; why the trees were planted along the route and why large gates were erected.

The children were able to see part of the original house built by Patrick Grant, which was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the 1930’s. The summer house, on top of a knoll, has spectacular views up and down Loch Meikle, which let the children see the area that the Grants once owned – albeit through some pretty heavy snow showers! Many thanks to Rab and Tanya and AliMac for allowing our visit.

There is a document from 2004 on Canmore from Historic Environment Scotland that you may be interested in reading about the ‘Garden Pavillion’

Glen Urquhart High School – the project was rolled out in February 2020 during careers week.  The 3rd year pupils took part in a morning of activities with specialist HES staff – archaeologists, GIS mapping/IT and  stone masons. They will visit the site in the drier weather and complete survey work.  They also visited the Archive Centre for a unique look ‘behind the scenes’ and to see the records held in the archive about the Grant family and Glenurquhart.
Many thanks are extended to Amy, Kat, Shaun and the stonemasons from HES; and Lorna Steel, Community Officer and the team at The Archive Centre for all their expertise and enthusiasm supporting the project.

Funding, Sponsors and Support

The Project group would like to acknowledge and thank the following:

> Chris Grant for advice and support
> John Cameron the landowner for access to the site
> the volunteers who contribute many hours with repairs, preserving heritage and community involvement
> the players of the national lottery

Funds and Grants from:
A private donation – many thanks, you know who you are!
Thanks to the following organisations: