The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Loch Borralan East

Chambered Cairn


Every now and again the dedicated Citizen Cairn'd may - if he/she is lucky, that is - come across a monument that utterly confounds any preconceptions that may have been entertained beforehand. This is such a case and, suffice to say, mine are blown asunder. How could this Orkney-Cromarty chambered cairn have not graced this web-site years ago?

Whatever. I'm here in the North-West Highlands as a sort of tribute to the exquisitely sardonic Greywether, making an attempt to visit as many of the myriad chambered cairns shown on my old 1:50k OS Sheet 15 as I can during the two days I've allocated myself here... to build upon the legacy in my own way. Following a sojourn at the badly damaged, yet still vibey chambered cairn sited magnificently upon the shore of Loch Borralan - under the ever watchful gaze of the peerless profile of Suilven - I guess I'm pretty chuffed, to be fair. Ready for bed, even if my nightly abode is the back of the new(ish) Focus estate replacing the much lamented Rover. However the aforementioned map depicts another chambered cairn located upon the steep hillside rising above and to the right of the house looming behind. Guess I'll take a quick look whilst I'm here.

The ground is churned to oblivion, I assume by the local bovines.... probably not much left, then? Er, there is.... Girdled by an electric fence stands a rather high, rather scruffy grassy/stony mound. I clamber up and stand, gobsmacked, looking down into a polygonal chamber seeming lacking only roof. Sure, the passageway is blocked with a chaotic jumble of large stones, but.... hey, I do declare what we have here is more or less the equivalent of Skye's wondrous Rubh an Dunain. Only without the 8 mile walk. I descend within the chamber, collapse in an overwhelmed heap and savour the moment, the atmosphere so thick with the metaphysical suggestions of millennia past that it would require the allegorical chainsaw rather than the proverbial knife to make any impact. Impressive orthostats form the chamber flanks, drystone walling filling in the gaps, and the springings of a corbelled roof stand where they ought to be, if I'm not very much mistaken. I assume the chamber has been consolidated at some point since traces of that matting material are evident between the stonework. If so, nice work.

I could stay for hours but unfortunately this can only be a relatively short visit... it is nearing 9.00. I poke my head above the chamber wall and note the fisherman I spied standing within the calm waters of the loch earlier returning to shore. Guess I need to do likewise and duly return back down to earth.
6th June 2013ce
Edited 8th June 2013ce

Comments (3)

Sounds like you are going to have a great few days.
The Highlands of Scotland - it doesn't come much better than that.
Posted by CARL
7th June 2013ce
Fantastic Gladman. Wish I was there. thelonious Posted by thelonious
7th June 2013ce
Yeah, it was the 10th widespread tour of Scotland - possibly last (?) since I'm finding 2 weeks non-stop so physically demanding nowadays - so tried to make it count. Thanks to you two for highlighting some of the roadside stuff around Assynt/Coigach in recent times. There is a lot, as actually bothering to look at the map will show! GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
8th June 2013ce
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