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Cnoc Chaornaidh Centre

Chambered Cairn


Located approx midway between the two other monuments completing this fine trio clustered beneath Cnoc Chaornaidh, this enigmatic stone pile is depicted as simply 'cairn' upon my 1:50k OS map. As such I was (shamefully, it has to be said) settling for merely a passing view en route from the superb north-western monument back to the car .... until a number of prominent protruding stones decided otherwise, that is. I am glad I saw sense since this one also blew me away.

Not for the first time, I concur with the fieldwork of archaeologist A S Henshall way back during 1963.... "A probable chambered cairn, 13.0m in diameter and 2.4m in maximum height, partly ruined on the south and SE but otherwise undisturbed and grass-grown. Two large slabs are visible on the south side, neither at nor leading to the centre and behind them to the NW is a cavity with a side slab and lintel just visible. Other large slabs lie about. The cairn seems to have been chambered but the present remains are impossible to interpret."

So, not a certain chambered cairn, then. But I will add the weight of my experience, such as it is, to that of Audrey 50 years before me. Suffice to say that the substantial orthostats remaining in situ in no way suggest that the cairn originally possessed a kerb... and if they represent field clearance, hell, I'll eat my hat. And that is not a very appetising thought, believe me. Although perhaps with a touch of garlic? So what else could these (more or less) upright stones represent, save the remnants of a collapsed chamber subsumed within the cairn?

But perhaps this is a moot point, what with the sensational view toward the jagged tops of Cul Mor and the landscape representation of Suil, the 'Eye Goddess' of lore - the unique Suilven - making this such an enigmatic location for a cairn, such a memorable visit. I wish I had longer to linger, but Loch Borralan is just up the road! It is all too much. Really, it is. Still, no rest for the inquisitive.
1st September 2013ce
Edited 1st September 2013ce

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