I must have driven past this place quite literally hundreds of times but never spotted it. Fortunately on this occasion the eagle eyed HG spotted it almost immediately on the banks of the River Dee. To many places on this river have police signs not allowing people to park, so I ignored their advice and parked just above the cairn to the west of Carnaquheen on the A93. The cairn is amongst the trees next to the beautiful River Dee, a short walk downhill of about 100 meters (over a gate and over a fence).
To be fair, they chose a good place to build their castle, the ancients thought of the idea first and I like their place better.
The cairn itself is 11 meters wide and almost 1.5 meters high. Cairn stones are clearly visible but slight erosion on the river side has happened. This place must have seen some amount of flooding. It has been recycled in more recent times and used as a place of memorial for those fighting in war. Also it was the rallying place for the Clan Faquharson (who have close links with the Shaws/Chattan) who fought against Westminster rule in 1715 (the Standard Of Rebellion was raised proudly in Braemar just along the road) and 1746 (more than 300 fought at Culloden), as mentioned on the memorial slab erected in 1972. The top of the cairn had, at one point, been re-arranged to hold a flag pole. However the flag and it's pole have long gone. So an important place in Scotland's history. But with the very old looking trees and magnificent surrounding mountains it feels ancient. Hopefully back in those ancient days it was maybe less violent.
With that it was back up the hill. The car was still there, and Braemar and the Linn Of Dee beckoned. No disturbence by the Royals so all was well :-)
On the lands of Monaltry, and on the north bank of the river Dee, in a narrow pass where there is not above sixty yards from the river to the foot of a high, steep, rocky hill, stands a cairn, known by the name of Carn-na-cuimhne, or cairn of remembrance. This is the watch word of the country. In former times, the moment the alarm was given that danger was apprehended, a stake of wood, the one end dipped in blood, and the other burnt, as an emblem of fire and sword, was put into the hands of theperson nearest to where the alarm was given, who immediately ran with all speed, and gave it to his nearest neighbour, whether man or woman; that person ran to the next village or cottage, and so on, till they went through the whole country; upon which every man instantly laid hold of his arms and repaired to Cairn-na-cuimhne. The stake of wood was called Croishtarich. At this day, were a fray or squabble to happen at a market or any public meeting, such influence has this word over the minds of the country people, that the very mention of Cairn-na-cuimhne would, in a moment, collect all the people of this country who happened to be present, to the assistance of the person assailed.
From the Statistical Account of Scotland, v14, p351-2.