We parked in the ‘themed’ car park – complete with large wooden ‘prehistoric stone axes!’ and ornate metal gates / picnic area. I quickly read the very good information boards and headed up the path which takes you directly to the cairn; which is easily visible from the car park. The walk only takes about 5 minutes.
The sky was clear dark blue and the sun was beating down. Not only that but I had the place to myself! As I walked up the hill I noticed a crescent moon directly above the cairn – a magical sight (I hope the photo comes out!) My pace quickened as I got closer.
The entrance to the cairn is at the back as you approach up the hill but my initial excitement ground to a halt as I saw the entrance had been blocked with a wire frame and a notice stating that due to a collapse in the chamber it was not safe to enter. This was a real blow as I was looking forward to seeing inside the cairn – as you can imagine.
I decided that the least I could do would be to shine my torch through the wire mesh and see what I could see. As I got closer to the entrance I then noticed that someone had forced part of the wire away from the frame and it could be easily moved to one side. I also noticed that the right hand side of the passage had collapsed. What to do?
If Dafydd had been with me I wouldn’t have entered in case of further collapse but as he was asleep in the car I decided I had come too far not to take the chance! I pulled the wire to one side and was just able to crawl through the gap on my side. I then had to continue to crawl on my side past the collapse of stones. I was relived that once past the collapse the chamber looked perfectly fine and I was able to have a look around as normal – whilst listening for the sound of any falling stones!
The thing that struck me most was the large slabs of stone which were used for the roof and the 5 large (1 massive) upright stones used to support the roof stones. The walls were made up of the usual dry stone walling.
After a while I carefully eased my way back out of the cairn and replaced the wire mesh. Hopefully it won’t be too long before repairs are put in place? I walked around the outside of the cairn and spotted a couple of large kerb stones remaining.
There are wonderful views from the cairn out across the lochs towards the distant hills.
So far this was the highlight of my holiday and I would heartily recommend a visit to the wonderful site if you are ever on Uist.
Posted by CARL
27th June 2012ce