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

Cnoc Chaornaidh North-West

Chambered Cairn


Archaeologically speaking this site rising to the north of Stratheskie farm possesses, in my opinion, the finest surviving remains of the three chambered cairns located in the immediate vicinity of Cnoc Chaornaidh. As such, it was perhaps inevitable that it would occupy the position with (arguably) the least intoxicating views, set upon a saddle between the aforementioned craggy eminence and the terminus of its western spur, the latter obscuring that utterly wondrous Inverpolly skyline. What a drag! However the disappointment is relative, of course, the sweeping vista to the south-east, not to mention that northwards toward Benmore Forest, well worth an eulogy or two in their own right. Yeah, if only I had the words.......

According to Audrey Henshall (1963) this monument represents another chambered cairn of Orkney-Cromarty type - albeit lacking the cairn, yet again - with the majority of the uprights of a polygonal chamber still in place, together with "a number of considerable and apparently widely spaced stones on the periphery". J M Howell [1976] reckoned the cairn was originally heel shaped, as opposed to round. To be honest it is a surprisingly substantial monument to 'stumble across' upon a Scottish hillside, raising the question of just how much more is 'out there' awaiting (re)discovery by the amateur punter? I would surmise 'quite a lot', to be fair. Although the chamber stones are not as large as those forming the chambered cairn below to the south-east, the structure here is more coherent. If only some of the accompanying cairn had survived this would indeed have been a classic to rival the upper site at Loch Borralan to the north-west.

But there you are.... what might have been, eh? However with brilliant washes of golden sunlight streaming through a gloweringly dark cloud mantle to illuminate chambered cairn and landscape as one, this is nevertheless still a hauntingly evocative place to rest for a while. Quality. Even if the traveller is denied a view of the splendid Suilven accorded visitors to the other cairns. Needless to say I guess we'll never know what the intentions of the people who erected these monuments to their dead truly were? No. And how infuriating for us modern people who think we know everything to realise that... in actual fact.... it seems we don't, after all.
1st September 2013ce
Edited 2nd September 2013ce

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