Standing just 100 metres south of the cairn at Vatten North, in the adjacent field, lies the considerably larger chambered cairn of Vatten South. This cairn is seriously ruined, with a height of 3½ metres and a basal girth of almost 40 metres. Most of the cairn has degenerated through stone robbing into little more than a stoneheap, with a conspicuous, deep trench across it where material has been removed.
I must have passed by this huge cairn many times while motoring across Skye, yet never realised it was there, despite it lying just 50 metres from the roadside. I bacame aware of it as I returned from visiting the broch in Glen Heysdal. There it was: straight ahead of me.
The Vatten North chambered cairn is every bit as impressive as Carn Liath at Kensaleyre—indeed, almost an identical twin—standing over 6 metres tall and with a basal girth of 25 metres or so. In form, it is an almost perfect cone, covered by heather and numerous smallish, white, rounded stones. It's condition, unlike that of its neighbour Vatten South, just 100 metres distant, is almost pristine.
These are two very large Cairns, close to the road, and well worth visiting.
They were much bigger than I was expecting.
The northern Cairn is in better condition although its southern counterpart has the better views. Due to the rain / mist the views were somewhat curtailed.
Access is via a metal field gate and across a bogy field. All went well until I stepped into a hole and my right leg fully disappeared into the ground. There I was ‘sat’ on the wet grass in the rain – with a leg covered in black 'bog water - such is the life of a TMAer!
Once I had regained my composure (and leg) I carried on to the Cairns and slipped and slithered to the top over the wet heavily moss covered stones.
I didn’t stay long due to the weather and a car full of people who had had enough for one day!
Fairly easy to get to, only about 30m or so from the road, but there is a hop over a wire fence, then some pretty boggy and uneven ground, with the odd deephole down into the peat.
However, if you're passing, give it a shot. There's something very proud about these two piles of tumbled stones. I don't know how the idea that they have chambers got started, but that is the recieved wisdom. But I do agree with Mr Cope on this one, it's nice to see a couple of monuments that have been left intact. It really adds to the feel of the place. Very brooding and slightly ominous at sunset. Hollow hills? Aye, probably.