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


Chambered Cairn


Following on after a frankly wondrous morning at Port Sonachan, the long cairn at Achachenna was always going to be a bit of an anti-climax, I guess. But perhaps only in Argyll could this be so... and, it's a pleasure to relate, misguided.

After descending The Pass of Brander, with its impressively unobtrusive hydro-electric scheme, the B845 heads south from the A8, twisting and turning, this way and that, as it heads down Glen Nant towards Kilchrenan. Here, a minor road beckons to the traveller's right, leading past Lower Achachenna Farm. Parking just south of an access track to an electricity sub station - honestly, without the sign you would have no idea it was here at all - the monument lies beyond a short stretch of bog and trees to the approx east. Sounds simple enough, but I sink up to my left calf in said bog and find two successive fences, one barbed, barring progress to the relevant field. Huh, Achachenna, you'd better be good!

To be honest, upon arrival, I'm not particularly impressed. 'Is this it? An, admittedly fine, monolith and shattered remnants of a chamber. Why, although Port Sonachan lies just a short distance away across Loch Awe to the east, both it and the loch are hidden by foliage and land topography. What a views.... should have gone straight to Glen Lonan, mumble, mumble. Then again the sun's out, there's coffee to be drunk and sweeties devoured, so I lay back and... the old - very old - structure begins to infiltrate its way into the Gladman psyche. Then, suddenly, a soaking wet mutt of a labrador bounds up, threatening my rapidly ageing DSLR, followed by what looks like a family of tourists. Bleedin' Hell. Here? I excuse my comatose demeanour by stating what a wonderful Neolithic monument this is. 'I know,' says the jolly man, 'I own it'. Doh! What does that law say, again? But I needn't have worried.... Just like the Achnagoul owner, this man's actually interested in his charge, laments that the students who used to come and take measurements no longer do so, and states that I'm free to go where I choose and enjoy. Well, who could say 'no' to such an invitation? Not I.

It dawns on me that the cairn actually DOES have a great view, with Ben Cruachan lording it magnificentally to the NE and, wandering around, this is actually one large, extensive monument, with several orthostats poking up here and there. The prominent monolith is also a very handsome example indeed. Then the sky takes centre stage with great, billowing, white masses of vapour floating in a vivid blue sky like those airships of yore. Before they began to blow up, that is. Suddenly time, to lazily continue the aeronautical theme, is flying, but I do not want to leave, noting how the ancients utilsed the slope of the hillside to accentuate the silhouette of the long cairn. Crafty buggers.

Achachenna, you knew what you were doing with this naive male punter all along, didn't you? Obviously a product of a female religion, then.
12th June 2010ce
Edited 12th June 2010ce

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