An absolutely exquisitely gorgeous part of the country, even in low cloud and occasional drizzle, or maybe because of low cloud and occasional drizzle, I cant tell which.
Parking for one if your not going to linger long, lingering can be done at the Brochs.
A nice little chamber crowns the large grass covered cairn, a slipped capstone rests on two side slabs, perhaps the third is in the back somewhere, and the fourth maybe to one side partially buried.
Unfortunately for this day a ferry awaits me in the opposite direction and I have not the time to delve further into the bag of tricks that is Glen Elg, another broch and some cupmarked stones await me on my next visit, hopefully it wont be another eleven years.
It had started to drizzle (in the Highlands this counts as being dry!) and we stopped the car on the rough, narrow road near Balvraid Farm. The others sat in the car while in the car while I hopped over the barbed wire fence to get a close up of the Cairn.
The remains are impressive and well worth a look when visiting the nearby more famous Brochs. There is a large capstone held up by 3 stones while a further two stones have fallen.
The whole Cairn is sat on a mound about 10m in diameter.
As with the other sites in the area good views abound.
Fried, fried. Take it in the side. Yeah, tell me about it. You might say the act of sheltering beneath the capstone of a chambered cairn in order to escape the overwhelming direct effect of the sun's solar energy - and not the usual, inexorable... and rather wet... result of convection - is a rather alien concept to this perplexed amateur antiquarian. And that would be putting it mildly, indeed. But 'tis the case alright. Glen Beag swelters under an impossibly blue sky this afternoon and I'm only too happy to take advantage of the shade afforded by this excellent megalithic structure.
Now I've been to Glen Beag before - a decade or so ago during one of my earliest trips to Alba - in order to check out the pair of wonderful brochs that are Dun Telve and Troddan. But curiously I never ventured that little bit further to just before the road's terminus at Balvraid; in retrospect that was no bad thing, the ommission duly presenting me with a good excuse to return, then? Needless to say it is worth the effort. Not only is the capstone supported by a couple of large orthostats, themselves resting upon a deceptively substantial cairn.... but the landscape context, standing above the lively, crystal clear waters of the Abhaim a' Ghlinne Bhig, the towering crags of Druim na Daise themselves rising above to the approx south, is truly exquisite. And since the road is a dead end - in just the 'physical' sense, you understand - only the locals, or the very inquisitive traveller will pass by to momentarily disturb the vibe. Hey, this is the kind of sun-bathing I can do.
I swear you could spend all day at Balvraid ... if it wasn't located within a Glen Beag also featuring the remains of three brochs and rock art, that is. Next on the agenda is the highly recommended extension to Dun Grugaig about a 1/4 mile further along the valley..... hey, it'd be rude not to.
This is one of the few Hebridean Passage Graves to be located on the mainland. It is close to the Isle of Skye so not far away from the usual territory.
The most visible remains are a capstone partly covering the small rectangular chamber. Traces of the E-facing passage can also be seen.
Excavation in 1965 showed that the cairn had been enlarged from a round one to a square one and that a facade had probably been added to the E side of the cairn. An interesting change of design which would bring it closer to a Clyde cairn layout.
The excavation mentioned above "did not reveal skeletal remains, but artifacts included sherds of Neolithic pottery and undecorated Beaker, lignite beads, a stone spindle whorl and flint artifacts including a leaf-shaped arrowhead"