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

Lochorodale 1

Chambered Cairn


Although there are actually less standing stones here than at the not too distant Lochorodale 2... this monument - in my opinion - fully justifies its numerical primacy on account of its wondrous location overlooking the eponymous loch. And, to be fair, a substantial volume of cairn material remains in situ, together with four heavy slabs forming a chamber to the north-west. OK, a fa├žade would have been nice (assuming one existed as an original feature?); but with a view like that.....

It is possible to park at the entrance to the stony track just south-west of the house at Lochorodale, that is just before the road begins the steep climb to the summit of the glen and Lochorodale 2. Following the track northwards a grassy diversion to the left is soon encountered which will take the inquisitive visitor straight to where he or she wants to be in short order. I, however, conscious of my dodgy route finding in forestry with old OS maps, elect to stick with the primary route. I would recommend this option since the views are better, the track subsequently veering to the left (west) to meet its neighbour below the southern face of a rocky crag.

The track peters out servicing a holiday home - or so it would appear (certainly a good place to rent out for a week or two if you fancy staying somewhere off the beaten track, I'd have thought?) - it being possible to circle around the left hand (western) flank of the crag to reach the monument. This is the approach I take but, in retrospect, I would suggest that ascending the crag directly northwards is the preferred option since this accords a grandstand, sweeping vista of the chambered cairn set in its landscape below.

The Clyde-type chambered long cairn sits to the left of a forestry plantation which partially obscures the onward view across the loch to the north-west; nevertheless I really think the setting is something special. As mentioned the monument appears pretty well defined, according to JG Scott (1952) and - as expected - AS Henshall (1972) the NW-SE facing cairn rising to approx "5ft to 6ft high near the centre". The chunky chamber stones project "1ft 3ins to 2ft" from the surface of the cairn forming the perfect spot to lie back, take in the glorious view and eat lunch. Yeah, this really is a superb place to simply sit and do nothing for a couple of hours, particularly if the weather is kind. Hey, I even had a bit of a stiff breeze to keep the midges at bay. A very welcome bonus indeed.

So in summary: not an overwhelmingly great chambered cairn, if relative merit is determined solely upon the criterion of quality of archaeology... but, of course, there are many other aspects to take into consideration, are there not? Consequently I reckon this is a classically located site worthy of seeking out for an extended visit.

And that, I guess, is that except to mention that the 1:25K map depicts a cup marked stone nearby at NR656161. The RCAHMS [1971] reckon this is "A cup-marked boulder, 1.7m by 1.1m by 0.5m high, bearing at least fourteen cups." Didn't visit myself since the lure of Blasthill was too great. But there you are.
15th August 2015ce
Edited 17th August 2015ce

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