Description of Historic Place
The Lone Sheiling, located on a roughly landscaped site at Cape Breton Highlands National Park, is a rectangular structure closely modeled after Scottish traditional dwellings for crofters or tenant farmers. It features low, massive, random rubblestone walls, rough-hewn timbers and a thatched roof. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Lone Sheiling is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Lone Sheiling at Cape Breton Highlands National Park is one of the first national parks in the Maritime Provinces and is associated with the expansion of the parks system to eastern Canada. It is also strongly associated with a Scottish theme, which was adopted by the National Parks Bureau in order to highlight Cape Breton’s physical resemblance to the Scottish Highlands. One of the earliest structures in the park, it illustrates the traditional heritage of the local inhabitants from the crofter class of the Scottish Highlanders.
The Lone Sheiling is a very good example of a basic shelter known as a ‘bothran’, a seasonal dwelling traditionally used by shepherds in Scotland during the time of year when sheep were moved to graze on the highlands, away from the village. Designed to promote the traditional heritage of the crofter class of the Scottish Highlanders, the Lone Sheiling is characterized by its simple form and massing which is based on the rustic image of a ‘bothran’. It is also valued for its quality stonework detailing, and timber and thatch roofing. Professor S. Macintosh, who bequeathed the 100 acres of land for the park, requested that a small cabin be built in the same design as the Lone Sheiling on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
The Lone Shieling, one of the earliest structures in the park, maintains an unchanged relationship to its site and is compatible with its highland park setting. Situated close to the Cabot Trail it is a well-known landmark in the area.
Sources: Katherine Spencer-Ross, Lone Sheiling Shelter, Cape Breton Highlands National Park Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 93-071; Lone Sheiling Shelter, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement, 93-071.
The character-defining elements of the Lone Sheiling should be respected.
Its basic shelter ‘bothran’ design, craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- its simple, low massing composed of a rectangular structure with low, heavy walls and a steeply pitched hipped roof;
- its rustic character as demonstrated by the irregular pattern fieldstone walls, wood frame construction and thatch roof with roofing frames of purlins and rafters;
- the simple, symmetrically arranged unadorned window and door openings;
- the simple interior rectangular plan divided into two sections by log partitions.
The manner in which the Lone Sheiling maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, is compatible with the character of its Highland Park setting and is a well-known landmark in the area, as evidenced by:
- its ongoing relationship to its roughly landscaped site on a sloped clearing and to the adjacent retaining wall and commemorative cairn;
- its basic shelter ‘bothran’ design and natural construction materials which harmonizes with its setting on the edge of an old growth Acadian forest in Cape Breton Highlands National Park;
- its proximity to the Cabot Trail and visible location along the Lone Shieling Nature Trail, which is highly frequented by travellers to the area.