Travelling north along the A87 you come to Broadford. Nearly opposite the turn off (left) for the B8083 there is a minor road on the right. Turn here and the Chambered Cairn is right next to a house (on the left).
The Chambered Cairn is a large mound covered in trees, brambles and long grass.
It is right next to a house and I would guess permission for a closer look my be sought there? I didn’t bother as it would have been a battle to get through the brambles and I doubt you would have seen much anyway? I wonder if the capstone is still there?
‘A Hebridean type chambered cairn, heavily robbed, although it is still a large, steep-sided, grass-covered mound bearing trees. It measures 77ft by 13ft in height. The capstone of the chamber, said to have been broken in 1832, still leans against the base of the mound on the N side. It is 8ft long, 5ft wide and 1ft thick’. 1972.
We got back to Broadford (16.3.2011) after our walk to Cill Chriosd with about 40 minutes to spare before the bus to take us back to the mainland. Time then for an ice-cream and an extra chambered tomb.
This site has suffered at various hands over the years, dug into by antiquarians and now hemmed in by houses and overgrown. But even in its rather sorry state, it's worth a visit. It remains a very large size, more like a small motte than a barrow. It enjoys a sweeping view over Broadford Bay to the mountains of eastern Skye, and behind it to the SW, Beinn na Cailleach looms. The damaged shape of the mound rather resembles the top of this mountain, although sadly the trees make it diffcult to get a photo to show the relationship. Some of the stonework is visible through the vegetation, including a small broken slab on top of the mound (not having checked Canmore, I didn't know to look for the larger slab described there).
As a site requiring no effort to visit, it can be easily accomodated by any passing stonehead, I reckon. Don't forget the ice-cream.
.. the Cairn [is] circular, and measures 125 paces round the base. It is reported to have been of a conical shape within the memory of persons living; but that the stones which formed the apex have been carried away by the poor people to assist them in building t heir cottages. However this may be, the Cairn is conical no longer but flat at top; and except here and there, where a few of the stones of which it was originally constructed are visible, it is covered with grass..
.. The discovery [of chambers inside] was made by a poor girl, who related the circumstance to me as follows. One day, when she was sitting on the Cairn, some of the earth near her suddenly gave way, and fell in; presently a large stone followed, -- revealing, to her great surprise and alarm, a dark hole, and showing that the Cairn whereon she had been sitting was hollow. She ran and communicated her discovery to some men; who first threw some stones into the cavern, and then descended.
The account of such very incompetant observers [!] is hardly to be trusted; but I was assured that the tomb contained nothing but a coffin formed by a series of rough flag-stones disposed so as to form a receptacle for the human body; part of a skeleton; and (I believe) an amber bead, together with some other little object which she could not describe.*
The weather was quite bad so he couldn't go sight seeing - so why not dig into the cairn?
An understanding was speedily entered into with nine active lads, who [..] attacked the stony heap at three different points, under the auspices of divers grave old Gaels; who folding their plaids about them, sat smoking their wee pipes, and predicting between every whiff that the Saxon would not find anything.
Actually they turned out to be right. They kept digging, then it rained a lot and despite the 'some whiskey, judiciously administered', the workmen got fed up in the end and downed tools in the rain the next day.
From J.W.B on p36 of the 1841 Gentleman's Magazine, online at Google books, here.
The RCAHMS database describes it as 'a large, steep-sided, grass-covered mound bearing trees. It measures about 77ft by 55ft by 13ft in height.' 'The capstone of the chamber, said to have been broken in 1832, still leans against the base of the mound on the N side. It is 8ft long, 5ft in maximum width and 1ft thick. A small flat slab lies nearby.'
*this might have been the grey-green stone wristguard which is mentioned in the RCAHMS notes.