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Giant's Graves

Chambered Cairn

<b>Giant's Graves</b>Posted by Howburn DiggerImage © Howburn Digger
Nearest Town:Ardrossan (25km NE)
OS Ref (GB):   NS044246 / Sheet: 69
Latitude:55° 28' 33.19" N
Longitude:   5° 5' 43.17" W



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Fieldnotes

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Visited 27.7.16

There is a signpost for the Glenashdale Falls and the Giant's Grave is then signposted off this path to the left - all zig zag uphill. On the way up you pass a tree that has been planted in memory of Terry, and photos, who passed away in 2013.

It takes 30 minutes to walk to the tombs and you need to be fairly mobile to be able to make it but the path is easy to follow. Once you reach the site there are good views over to Holy Island and the Scottish Scotland.

It was amazing the difference in the weather from when I started to when I got to the top. When I started there was little wind and although overcast it was fairly warm. At the top it was windy, misty and cold!

The two tombs are well worth the effort to walk up the hill. The first tomb you come to is the better preserved and it was good to be able to clamber about the stones and look inside to see how it was constructed. The remaining upright stones are of a good size. The nearby second tomb is not as extensive but obviously still worth checking out. It was no great surprise to find I had the hilltop to myself. I have found that when visiting any site on the Scottish islands / highlands you are virtually guaranteed to get the place to yourself. Orkney and Callanish excepted of course!

It is surprising how some very good sites are not under the care of Historic Scotland etc yet lesser preserved sites are. This site is well worthy of such recognition.
Posted by CARL
8th August 2016ce

It was summer 1988 when I first visited this site. I'd approached it through deep plantation forestry and endured the clouds of firey midges which hung in biting clouds around it. Visits in the 1990's were no better. There were no views or any way to understand where this cairn stood in its landscape. All changed now!
The best way to approach these large Clyde Type Chambered Cairns is to follow the Glenashdale Falls path. Dont go up the steep signposted path if you want to avoid an excruciating climb! It is much gentler to walk on up to the falls and is really not much longer. You should walk the path right up to the falls then take a left along the smooth flat forest road which takes you around the hill. It makes for very easy walking and you are met with a spectacular view of the cairns as they sit in profile on the crest of their terrace with the Ayrshire coast behind them. The forestry has been completely clear felled allowing some wonderful viewing. You then walk down a gentle path on your left to the cairns.
The southern chambered cairn is aligned east/ west and looks directly to the black flat topped volcanic plug of Mochrum Hill near Maybole. These plugs/ igneous intrusions stretch from Scotland's West Coast to East Coast taking in Ailsa Craig, Mochrum Hill, Tinto Hill, Arthur's Seat, Bass Rock and the Lomond Hills.
The north chambered cairn sits on a north/ south axis and although only the massive cists are left in the centre, there are still large stones marking where the "horns" came out to. Views to the barbed peaks of Goatfell and Cir Mhor to the north are spectacular. If you are wondering where all the many tons of removed cairn material went... then on you way down the steep winding path look to your right and see the beautiful dry stane dyke which runs across the hillside! There's your cairn!
While munching a fish supper with my Mrs and kid the following evening, we could see the stumps of the north cairn from the path out to King's Cross Point in Whiting Bay far below. In its original state the cairn would have been very visible.
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
11th July 2010ce
Edited 11th July 2010ce

Firstly, I have to agree with others that this is a fairly steep climb but Vicky had assured me that it would be pleasant enough, walking up through the forested path; it was mid afternoon and starting to get quite warm. So off we went - only to find that ALL of the trees have been cut down!
On one hand, this was great news as the views were fabulous but on the other - not so great when you are huffing and puffing up a hill with NO shade in the blazing sun!
But......when you get to the site, it is more than worth the clamminess. The views from here across to Holy Island and across Arran are just spectacular.
I like the fact that you have to work to get here. Not really for casual observer, we had the place to ourselves and marvelled at the magnificence of this site.
Vicster Posted by Vicster
16th May 2010ce
Edited 29th May 2010ce

First site in a three-day trip to Arran and a return visit to the Giant's Graves after 16 years. I'm sure the climb wasn't so steep the last time!

Two Clyde chambered cairns. The worderfully megalithic N one being the better preserved with its facade and forecourt (facing N) still clear enough. The main chamber is a joy and there is also a ruined S chamber.

The second cairn faces W.

Visited 9 May 2005
greywether Posted by greywether
15th May 2005ce

Do not underestimate the trip to the Giants Graves. walk along a track for about 1/2 a mile and then the ascent begins, and goes on, and on, and on. Through the woods, the hillside has steps all the way to the summit, but it is a real steep climb.

Expect to take some rest stops (and on the way back down travellers plaintively asking "is it much further?") Once you reach the top of the steps, you might think you are there. Oh, no, continue along the hilltop, climbing still slightly, through the woods - watch out, we expected Orcs to come running at us at any moment.

When you reach the clearing, you will not be disappointed. What a great place! As others have said, the views must have been breathtaking - a burial for kings!

Only one thing spoilt our restful period at the top.... a phone call from work! don't take your mobile.
moey Posted by moey
19th January 2003ce

Hmmmmm.....Forestry Commision, those two words spell disaster for this monument. Well maybe that's a bit harsh cos the stones are wonderful, but the views would have been amazing if it wasn't for those pesky conifers. It is a harsh-ish climb, and you don't get the sense of height or views really for it.

But a bit of imagination will quickly get you in the mood, these remains are fine, and ok, the wood around is actually quite atmospheric.
Posted by FurryDan
20th September 2001ce