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Ciach Lodge

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Ciach LodgeCiach Lodge - 13th July 2010

Ciach Lodge is the (ruined) 19th century shooting lodge near the watershed between Am Beitheachan and An Slugan.  The remains of Ciach Lodge straddle the track between the two glens a little south of the group of large erratic boulders standing on the watershed.

As a place name Ciach is obscure (see Glen Quoich for discussion), but the name Ciach Lodge is derived from the area of Invercauld Forest between the watershed and Beinn Bòrd known as Caich or Ciach -  Robertson (1822) shows the form Caich, the 6-inch map (1869) shows the form Ciach.

By 1850 a shooting lodge of some description had certainly been built.  In Victoria (1877) - the author mentions passing the shooting lodge while describing her ascent of Beinn Bòrd on the 6th of September 1850 - writing :

Further on comes a very narrow, rocky, and precipitous glen, called the Sluggan, said to mean the “swallow,” or “swallowing.”  Some little distance after this the country opens widely before you, with Ben-na-Bhourd rising towards the left ; and then you enter the Forest of Mar, which the Duke of Leeds rents from Lord Fife.  There is a very pretty shooting-box, called Sluggan Cottage, which is half way from Invercauld to the top of Ben-na-bhourd.  Below this is the Quoich, which we forded

- Victoria (1877) (p87-88)

At first reading one might think (as I did) that this is a reference to the later lodge built in An Slugan, but it is clear from what she writes that the “country opens widely” before she reaches the lodge - which it only does above An Slugan a short distance before the watershed

A later and more specific reference to Ciach Lodge was published in the Cairngorm Club Journal.  In the article The Cairngorm Mountains by Alexander McConnochie (ccj 4, January 1895, p247) – the author writes :

''Sluggan Lodge'' is marked on the O.S. maps as ''Ciach Lodge''.  The original building was erected by Lord Castlereagh about 50 years ago and stood higher up, facing Beinn a' Bhuird ; the present lodge was built about 20 years ago

- Alexander McConnochie (ccj 4, January 1895, p247)

An so it is - Ciach Lodge was built about 1845 on the watershed above An Slugan, slightly to the south of the group of large rocks there.  The remains are easy to miss - the existing track goes right through the middle of them.  The remains are more obvious once you know they're there, and heather covered shaped-stones are dotted around.  The bank to the east of the track has been dug out, and according to the Phil Harding 'three stones in a line makes a wall' test - the remains of the western wall are evident on the west side of the track.

Ciach Lodge was not large - the extent of the dug-out bank defines the area it could have occupied.  However it was large enough to serve its purpose - as an overnight shelter for a shooting party.