Struy Lead Mines

(NH 3830 3790)


“The Struy lead mines (Six-inch ordnance Survey, Inverness-shire, 1876 sheet 17) are situated on the west side of Strathglass, about two miles south-west of Struy village, and comprise three distinct sets of small long-abandoned workings, two of them being in the nature of trials only. 

All three workings are shown on the six-inch map, and are on veins traversing the Moine schists. The Geological Survey Memoir of the district says that four veins may be traced on the hill face between the Dun south of Struy school and Crelevan; if this is correct there are two outcrops I have not seen.

The mines are on what was until a few years ago part of Lord Lovat’s estate. The date of their discovery is not known, but they were apparently worked about the year 1818 by Thomas Alexander Fraser (afterwards 12th Lord Lovat) at the same time as his graphite mine in Strath Farrar; most of the work seems, however, to have been done by him between 1838 and 1845, when miners were brought from England [probably Cornwall] and housed in cottages specially built for them in Struy village. In 1864 the Loch na Meine workings were cleared and prospected, but since then no further work has been done.

The eariiest reference to the mines which I have been able to find is contained in G & P Anderson’s ‘Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland’ (London, 1834, pp. 229, 539-540) in which it is stated that ‘ they were then abandoned, having been worked by Mr. Fraser of Lovat who’found them unprofitable owing to their small size, and the extreme hardness of the gneiss rock’; and again ‘Near Little Struy, a lead mine, situate in a thick vein of heavy spar, traversing gneiss, was some years ago opened by Mr. Fraser of Lovat, but it has been abandoned owing to its unproductiveness’.

 There is also a brief account of the mines in the Geological Survey Memoir of the district, and a reproduction of this with a few additional notes appears in the Special Reports on the Mineral Resources of Great Britain. It is probable that some further information could be Obtained by a search through the documents in Lord Lovat’s estate office.”

A further geological survey was undertaken by the Institute of Geological Sciences in 1974 and while it concluded that that there were indications that one lead vein extended further than was found while the mine was operating there were insufficient deposits to make them of economic importance.

The photo left is undated but almost certainly early 20th century while at the top of the page the photo shows what remained of the chimney in 2007.  As with many other old abandoned features stones from the structure were removed to be used elsewhere.