What a difference from my first visit here ten years ago. Then I had to climb a rickety fence and wade ankle deep through bog, all the while being battered by the wind with stinging freezing rain hammering me in the face.
Today things are much more civilised. The weather is positively warm for the northerly latitude, and a nice new gate from Achavanich accesses the field, the cairn being easily visible on higher ground to the east of the great 'U' of Stemster. The route to the cairn is still marshy, a drainage stream cuts the cairn off from the Achavanich stones, but a wooden plank has been placed across it to allow access. It is so damp at the moment though that the plank threatens to be swamped, and I carefully pick my way across it, with arms extended for balance, feeling very Tomb Raider.
Keeping my feet dry I arrive at the cairn, which affords a fantastic view across the stone setting to Loch Stemster, while if you turn to your left mountains dominate the distant horizon, today snow capped and lovely.
The cairn must once have been huge, for it is still a fair size although denuded in size, and 1,000 years older than the stones it overlooks. It is possible to make out what looks to once have been an entrance passage, though now collapsed in on itself, and the central chamber still forms a fine cist.
Now that access is easier make sure not to leave out Achkinloch on a visit to Achavanich, just make sure you bring some waterproof shoes!