Building S, T and U
[intro] In front of you are the ruins of three buildings. The stone walls you can see today would originally have been two or three times their present height. When these buildings were abandoned, some of the stone was re-used elsewhere – it takes a lot of stone to build a township! [/intro]
[details] At first, the building stone used at Auchindrain came from the glacial till, gathered when the land was first cleared for farming, and then ploughed up in the course of cultivation. By the late 19th century this supply of stone couldn’t meet the township’s needs, and a small quarry was opened.
Look over to the west across the car park, and on the skyline you will see two large, tall trees. The quarry is at the foot of these trees. It is not known when it was last worked, but it would have been a noisy, dusty and dangerous environment for the people working there, and for any nearby animals.
At the time, there was at least one person living at Auchindrain who was familiar with the techniques and technology involved in quarrying. In the 1860s, Neil McGugan had worked at the nearby copper and nickel mines at Craignure and Coille-bhraghad. There, he would have learned skills such as drilling and blasting. A hole would be drilled into the rock face and filled with ‘bobbins’ of compressed gunpowder. The explosion shattered an area of rock into smaller stones. These could then be carried back to the township for building work.
When you look at the walls of the buildings around you, you can see that two different types of stone were in use here. The stone from the quarry has cleaner edges and flat faces, making it a better building material than the rounded, irregular glacial till. Some buildings include large boulders, deposited by glaciers, in their structure. This was a good use of rocks that could otherwise have been hard to move. Making the best of the resources and the environment available to them would have been vital for the people living in the township.
To read more about the ruined buildings in this area, click here.