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

Allt Sgiathaig

Chambered Cairn


How good is this? Although close by the busy A894 - and apparently damaged by its construction - the shattered remains of this chambered cairn literally rise above such an appalling indignity, according the visitor a wondrous perspective of what surely must have been an ancient route across the gloriously brutal, mountainous landscape of The Quinag. Perhaps not so 'glorious' to the sodden Neolithic traveller, perhaps, but full of inherent meaning nevertheless? The situation is dramatic, to say the least, the towering mountain mass, rising beyond the Allt Sgiathaig, sculptured by the greatest forces of all to form the enigmatic, strikingly elegant summit of Spidean Coinich. Not the highest of The Quinag, but suffice to say it catches the eye.

According to Assynt's Hidden Lives Project [2009] the monument is:

"An uneven, sub-triangular grass covered cairn.... the W side has been completely truncated by the road. The cairn sits on a slope....3.5m high at the W and 1m high on the E.....Large stones are present on the top which are perhaps displaced lintels or capstones".

Yeah, I'd concur with that. I also agree with Carl. The chambered cairn can not be seen from the road. Having said that, I approached from the steep hillside above, the monument presenting an iconic foreground image to such a desolately beautiful, watery landscape. Unfortunately the lack of internal detail within the cairn did not allow me to come to any firm conclusion regarding any correlation between alignment and the aforementioned Spidean Coinich... as I would suggest is reasonably obvious at the Ardvreck cairn down the road. But hey, despite the arrival of a pretty hostile rain front, I enjoyed myself here gazing down upon the camper vans heading for Kylesku, the mind drifting back to a much more serious 'working over' upon Spidean Coinich a decade ago. It's good to return and gain a different perspective, to close the loop.

Ascending the A894 from Loch Assynt there are numerous parking spaces to be had before passing the track to Achmore Farm... should you be arriving by car, of course. As mentioned I climbed the hillside to the right and worked my way along. However if you'd rather stick to the tarmac - and why not? - look out for a solitary tree to your left... I think there was only the one. If located, the cairn lies, unseen, upon the steep rise to your right.

P.S - if your onward route happens to take you to Kylesku it is worth considering a boat trip along Loch Glencoul to see Eas-Coul-Aulin, Britain's highest waterfall. As the local who took me said of his craft... "one careful owner... can't speak for the other dozen, though!" Nice.
1st October 2013ce
Edited 2nd October 2013ce

Comments (2)

If your onward route takes you to Kylesku you have to sit in the pub garden there with the most fantastic view over the loch. And the food was amazing. And if only I'd known about the waterfall. It's so marvellous up there as indeed you must know (sigh). Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd October 2013ce
This corner of Scotland has a special vibe to it, I think. Almost as if the locals live side by side with a past that has never receded away, the monuments so part of the landscape.... they are Scotland. I must admit I feel like 'little boy lost' up here. Great area for those getting on a bit - or those not up for treks anyway - to simply take their pick from the map. How can you be disappointed with wonders like Loch Borralan East lying around?
3rd October 2013ce
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