Sign in / register

Skye, Inver Tote, Diatomite Works

Downtime notice: Due to essential work on our servers all images supplied by NRS, including the digital volumes, will be unavailable from midnight on Friday 3 October until midnight on Sunday 5 October (GMT).

You may copy, display, store and make derivative works for personal use or use solely within an educational institution by staff and students, under these conditions: the ScotlandsPlaces website is attributed, there is no commercial use or sale, and no public distribution (for example, by hand, email, or web). Full licence details.

Record Detail

  • Organisation
    RCAHMS
  • Alternative name(s)
    N/A
  • Canmore ID
    191593
  • Site type
    WORKS
  • Parish
    KILMUIR
  • Council
    INVERNESS-SHIRE
  • NGR
    NG 52022 60498
  • Latitude, longitude
    57.566289N, 6.148326W
  • Archeological notes
    NG56SW 21.00 5214 6051 See also NG45NE 1 and incorporates information from cancelled site NG56SW 26 NG56SW 21.01 NG 5201 6049 Chimney Stack; Building NG56SW 21.02 NG 5200 6040 House NG56SW 21.03 NG 518 605 Quarry The former diatomite mine and works at Inver Tote sit in the parishes of Kilmuir, to the North and Snizort, to the South. The Lealt River acts as the boundary between the two parishes at this point. Information from RCAHMS (DHR), July 2001. See NG45NE 1 for the Diatomite Works at Loch Cuithir. Information from RCAHMS (DHR), July 2001. Diatomite is a white or grey mineral earth which has similiarities to china clay. It is formed from deposits of living the skeletons, shields or shells of fresh water minute microscopic organisms or diatoms. Diatomite can be used for insulation against sound and the loss of heat and cold. It is also a useful material for fireproofing. Information from Diamomite and its Uses, published by the British Diatomite Co. Ltd., Glasgow, see MS/1077/17.
  • Architectural notes
    Diatomite is silica-rish sediment formed by microscopic algae, and has many uses, such as face powder, fire-proofing and insulation, neutral filler, and as a filter in several industrial processes. However, one of the greatest causes of interest in Skye Diatomite was its potential use as a substitute for Kieselghur by Alfred Nobel in the production of Dynamite in Nobel's new Scottish factory at Ardeer in Ayrshire during the 1880s. Nobel eventually found a better source of material, but the Extraction of Diatomite nevertheless began in Skye at Loch Cuithir in 1886. The Diatomite was transported by tramway to be processed at Invertote, production continuing until 1913. The industry was briefly revived between 1950 and 1961, using road transport. The principal remains of the Invertote works are a large, rubble-built, rectangular-plan roofless building (NG5201 6049). It has been entirely gutted, but fragmentary remains include a large cast-iron flywheel from a steam engine, and a cast-iron wall-mounted bearing box. The other surviving structure is a kiln (NG5201 6052), comprising a lower chanber or firebox built from Scottish firebricks (produced at the Star Works, Glenboig, Lanarkshire, and Etna Works, Armadale, West Lothian), onto which has been constructed a circular-section fireclay-brick column encased by an outer layer of sheet steel. The exact functions of the processing building and the kiln are uncertain, but it is likely that the latter was used for drying purposes. Information from RCAHMS (MKO) 1994

Related material information

PHOTOGRAPHS

  • 191593 (7/10/1946)
    RAF post-war vertical air photograph of Inver Tote, diatomite mine works.
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Detailed interior view looking up the column/chimney of the kiln, showing its fireclay brick lining. The bricks were manufactured by Star Works (Glenboig, Lanarkshire) and Etna Works (Armadale, West Lothian).
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View of kiln from NNE
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View of the kiln from NNE (with adult human for scale)
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Detailed view from NW of the brick-built base of the kiln
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Detailed elevated view of the kiln from WNW
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Elevated view of the kiln from WNW, showing burn (down which water was carried in a salt-glaze fireclay pipe lade)
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Detailed view from SE looking up side of the kiln
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from ESE of the kiln
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from ESE of the kiln
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Detailed view from SE of the kiln
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from SE of the kiln
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from SW of the kiln
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Elevated view from W looking down onto the kiln
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from S of concrete foundations of former processing building (immediately to the N of the surviving building)
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Detail of cast-iron bearing box inside the S wall of the diatomite processing building
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Detail of remains of steam-engine flywheel (2.42m diameter), lying at the S end of the diatomite processing building
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Detail of typical portion of masonry of random rubble wall of diatomite processing building
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from S within roofless remains of diatomite processing building, with kiln visible on the slope beyond
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from NE within roofless remains of diatomite processing building
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Distant view from S of diatomite works, showing cliff-side location
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    Elevated view from N of diatomite works, showing remains of processing building (left) and kiln (right)
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from NE (from the shore) of remains of diatomite processing building (left), with the kiln (right)
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from NE (from the shore) of remains of diatomite processing building (left), with the kiln (right)
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from ESE (from the shore) of remains of diatomite processing building, also showing the nearby kiln (right)
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from SE (from the shore) of remains of diatomite processing building
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from WNW looking down onto remains of diatomite processing building
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    View from SW of remains of diatomite processing building
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    General view looking down onto site of Invertote Diatomite Works from SW, showing processing building (right) and kiln (left)
  • 191593 (6/7/1994)
    General view looking down onto site of Invertote Diatomite Works from SW, showing processing building (right) and kiln (left)

DIGITAL IMAGES

  • 1170649 (31/5/2009)
    Oblique aerial view of the remains of the quarry, diatomite works and salmon fishing station at Inver Tote, taken from the ENE.
  • 1170648 (31/5/2009)
    Oblique aerial view of the remains of the quarry, diatomite works and salmon fishing station at Inver Tote, taken from the E.
  • 1017056 (15/7/1996)
    Digital image of drawing showing location plan. Insc: Invertote, Lealt, Location plan and building plan.

MANUSCRIPTS

  • 191593 (1994)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Copy of letter, undated, from Roger Miket, Museums Officer, Skye & Lochalsh District Council to Miles Oglethorpe, RCAHMS, regarding the continued existance of a shed originally from the diatomite works at Inver Tote, now removed to Balnaknock, Uig.
  • 191593 (12/10/1993)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Copy of letter, dated 23 October 1993, from Geoffrey P Stell, Head of Architecture, RCAHMS to Roger Miket, Museums Officer, Skye & Lochalsh District Council, regarding the likelihood of survey work into the diatomite workings and marble quarries of Skye.
  • 191593 (27/1/1994)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Copy of letter, dated 27 January 1994, from Miriam R McDonald (RCAHMS) to Roger Miket, Museums Officer, Skye & Lochalsh District Council, regarding research work relating to mineral extraction on Skye.
  • 191593 ()
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Four A4 photocopies of extracts from 'The Clarion of Skye'. From July 1953 to November 1954.
  • 191593 ()
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works One A3 photocopy of an OS map extract.
  • 191593 ()
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Two A3 photocopies of extracts of the 1903 OS 2nd edition maps for Invernessshire, sheet numbers XI and XII.
  • 191593 (11/1/1994)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Photocopy of research notes made at the Map Library, Edinburgh on Tuesday 11 January 1994. One page.
  • 191593 (11/1993)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Photocopy of research notes made at the British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, during November 1993. Seven pages.
  • 191593 (2/3/1992)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Photocopy of an eleven page paper entitled 'Diatomite Extraction from Loch Cuithir, Isle of Skye'.
  • 191593 ()
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Small leaflet containing chemical analysis of diatomite, produced by the British Diatomite Co Ltd.
  • 191593 ()
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Pamphlet (pale yellow) on Diatomite and its uses, produced by the British Diatomite Co Ltd.
  • 191593 ()
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Leaflet on Insulite (British Diatomite Co).
  • 191593 (8/1897)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Three letters from manager, Mr Dixon, on the processes and efficiencies of the works, written on Skye Diatomite Co paper.
  • 191593 (8/1897)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Two sheets of foolscap giving Estimate of Cost per ton of drying Diatomite artificially, and two associated letters on Sky Diatomite Co paper.
  • 191593 (6/1/1897)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works On Skye Diatomite Co paper, the 1896-7 contract for drying diatomite. Dated 6 January 1897
  • 191593 (1/1897)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Document entitled 'Loch Cuithir: Measurements of proposed course of drain to convey diatomite from loch to shore, dated January 1897, signed A M Mackenzie'.
  • 191593 (19/3/1897)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Letter, dated 19 March 1897, from A M Mackenzie with survey details of Loch Cuithir.
  • 191593 (17/3/1897)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Sketch map of layout of Loch Cuithir, dated 17 March 1897.
  • 191593 ()
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Line drawing of Platform Bogie. Undated.
  • 191593 (13/1/1898)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Letter to James McLeod of Glasgow, dated 13 January 1898, requesting the supply to the Skye Diatomite Co of rails etc.
  • 191593 (26/3/1900)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Letter dated 26 March 1900 from one of the firm's largest customers, Reid, McFarlane & Co of Glasgow, sole manufacturers in Scotland for Skye Diatomite, manufacturers of improved non-conducting incombustible composition, for covering steam boilers, cylinders, pipes etc.
  • 191593 (13/10/1897)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Letter from Carrick & Ritchie, Engineers, Waverley Ironworks, Abbeyhill, Edinburgh.
  • 191593 (3/5/1900)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Memorandum and Articles of Association of the British Diatomite Company Ltd., registered 3 May 1900.
  • 191593 (4/1896)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Photocopied small tinted drawing of wooden drying house gable with frame for fan, supplied by Wm Boulton of Burslem.
  • 191593 (17/1/1896)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Photocopied letter from James & Fred'k Howard, Britannia Iron Works, Bedford, concerning a portable railway catalogue.
  • 191593 (15/6/1896)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Photocopied 2 paged letter from A & J Main & Co., Structural Engineers, Clydesdale Iron Works, Possilpark, Glasgow, accompanied brochure. For brochure see MS/1077/3.
  • 191593 (3/1995)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Photocopied 8 page brochure from A & J Main & Co., Structural Engineers, Clydesdale Iron Works, Possilpark, Glasgow.
  • 191593 (15/3/1994)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Typed inventory of Skye diatomite records held by Mr. Hugh MacDonald on Tuesday 15 March 1994. 5 pages.
  • 191593 (15/3/1994)
    Loch Cuithir and Inver Tote, Diatomite Works Typed inventory of Skye diatomite records held by Mr. Hugh MacDonald on Tuesday 15 March 1994. 5 pages.

PRINTS AND DRAWINGS

  • 191593 (6/6/1996)
    Site plan Insc: Invertote, Lealt, site plan. Sheet 2 of 3.
  • 191593 (15/7/1996)
    Location plan [scale 1:10,000] and plan [scale 1:100] Insc: Invertote, Lealt, Location plan and building plan. Sheet 3 of 3.

1st edition 6-inch maps

TitleDateOther parishes/counties
 Ordnance Survey six-inch to the mile, Inverness-shire (Isle of Skye), Sheet XII1875