From Bettyhill on the A836 take the minor road south towards Skelpick. The cairn can be seen on the left (east) side of the road after about 1 mile. There is a small parking area with a sign which states ‘Strathnaver Trail 12’ and an adjacent information board.
The information board states that these are two long cairns (between 4,400 and 6,000 years BP) cut through by a cart track. A ‘path’ has been cut through the ferns taking you from the road to the cairns. Dafydd and I opted to go exploring whilst Karen and Sophie were content to watch Peppa Pig on the DVD player!
There is not too much to say about the northern cairn. It has been ruined and now only has one stone standing. The ruined cairn is covered in broken glass, bottles, rubbish and rust pieces of metal. What a shames.
The southern cairn is a different matter altogether – this really is a super site!
Despite being well hidden by chest high ferns, once discovered, it is great place to explore.
There are 5 façade stones still standing – 3 x 1m in height, 1 x 1.5m and 1 x 2m – (covered in ‘hairy lichen’ with a quartz section at the top). There are two cap stones in situ with the chamber open to the sky either side. The chamber is full of tall ferns and I was unable to crawl through the narrow passage which is about 1m high. Under the central capstone is a pair of stones which restrict the width of the passage. A further two ‘narrowing stones’ are located at the end of the passage but has no covering capstone.
I write these notes sat in the end of the chamber, surrounded by ferns and out of the hot glare of the sun. Looking down the passage I can see Dafydd battling away against the ferns!
This is a fantastic site to visit and now with the parking area, information board and path is very easy to access. Despite not being not too far away from the A836 the chambered tomb has a feeling of remoteness about it.
Visit if you can – you won’t be disappointed.
Posted by CARL
19th August 2014ce