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Cnoc An Daimh

Chambered Cairn

<b>Cnoc An Daimh</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Also known as:
  • Dun Carn Fhamhair

Nearest Town:Ullapool (49km S)
OS Ref (GB):   NC16674293 / Sheet: 9
Latitude:58° 20' 11.93" N
Longitude:   5° 7' 55.17" W

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Driving along the coastal A894 from the lovely (cairnless) chambered cairn at Badnabay I happen to glance up to my left upon passing the shore of Loch an Daimh Beg, a little south (ish) of Scourie.... to see what appears to be a large cairn surmounting the near crag. Pulling into a handy lay-by beside a gate in the deer fence, a quick fumble for the map confirms what, in these parts anyway, has come to be generally accepted wisdom, at least where I'm concerned; namely it's a pretty fair bet that a large pile of stones will turn out to represent a chambered cairn. To my shame, exhausted by the day's exertions and with time advancing inexorably toward night, I momentarily consider passing on by, like a motorised Dionne Warwick... or The Stranglers, if you prefer. Happily, in retrospect, I pull myself together in the nick of time. Good man.

The gate accesses a stony track heading initially for Bealach na h-Imrich. And then goodness knows where? Gaelic names upon the map. The monument is soon forthcoming, crowning a small crag above to my right and appears pretty substantial, albeit now very much part of the landscape it was no doubt once erected to stand apart from as a statement of intent. Perhaps. As usual Audrey Henshall had the details back in 1963, the cairn of Orkney-Cromarty type with a diameter of c40ft and a small (apparently) polygonal chamber, entered from the north/north-east, defined by four orthostats subsumed within the summit, their tops nevertheless still visible. So, quite a substantial monument with internal detail still in situ.

But there's much more to this site in the form of some quite magnificent views, particularly looking south across Loch a'Chreagain Theth to the enigmatic profile of Quinag upon the skyline and... I think.... even the legendary Suilven. While to the south-west the eye is guided by the contrasting, yet aesthetically complementary contours of land and water across Badcall Bay to a myriad islands and islets occupying the inner reaches of Eddrachillis Bay. Looking north-west the map depicts a hut circle upon the far shore of Loch an Daimh Beg, several other examples apparently set below the cairn to the approx south-west. East? I'm reminded of the hauntingly barren waterscapes of North Uist. Quite an accolade, to be fair. Oh for more time.

As it is a truncated visit must suffice. I watch as several cars arrive at the hotel in Lower Badcall... whilst I will sleep tonight in the company of young stags above Loch Lurgainn. Guess one day the hotel will appear attractive. Not just yet, however.
3rd January 2015ce
Edited 4th January 2015ce