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


Long Cairn


The way from the the summit of Mulloch Hill is, as those familiar with the landscape of Scotland might expect, not an easy skate. Even taking the (more or less) direct line to the long cairn, avoiding Scar Hill and a further cairn to its left. Having said that, matters aren't helped by what appears to be a certain (ahem) amount of conflict between the landowner and militant local walkers (surely not tourists?), judging by several (apparently) 'sledge- hammered' gates and copious use of barbed-wire fences. Hmm. As a result the path is not easy to follow, several 'back-tracks' being required as I come across fences too high to negotiate. Well, at least without damaging you know what. Nevertheless I eventually reach the afforested Craigie and continue to the hill's eastern tree-line, whereby, beyond yet another high, barbed-wire fence, the long cairn is visible to the right. Or is it just a dry stone wall? There's only one way to find out.

In actual fact both scenarios are correct, a dry stone wall abutting - and no doubt constructed from - what to all the world looks like a much disturbed, horned long cairn of significant proportions - albeit with a large chunk removed from its far (southern) flank. Canmore (see Misc post) doesn't appear 100% sure the cairn is kosher - possibly due to the existance of a much less substantial , not to mention grassy and very unconvincing, clearance 'long cairn' sharing the pasture to the north. To be honest I can see no reason at all to doubt a prehistoric origin, particularly since another upstanding example (The Blue Cairn) sits within Balnagowan Woods a little further to the east. But there you are. Wishful, thinking perhaps?

The cairn is located upon an angled, natural ridge - or so it would appear - offering good views towards nearby Braeroddach Loch. The bare, staring windows of Balnacraig Farm, below to the south, are a little off-putting at first.... bearing in mind the apparent landowner/walker conflict in the area. But then that's just me, I guess. Bit of a wuss. Or perhaps worried I might turn into Michael Douglas in 'Falling Down' in the event of someone having too much of a go, you know? In the event, no problem and Balnacraig is a fine early afternoon hang. I decide to return to the car by heading north, towards Scar Hill. A bridge crosses a small burn only to end at a barbed-wire fence. Fortunately persons unknown have covered the offending fence with plastic tape. Which is nice.

Once across, I stumble through woodland, trending west, before picking up a grassy track heading roughly in the same direction. According to the compass, anyway. Sure enough this leads eventually to a gate beside Burnside Farm..... and tarmac. Luckily.
28th June 2011ce
Edited 29th June 2011ce

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