Yet another 'Greywether special', modern antiquarians partial to the serenity inherent in the 'woodland clearing vibe' could do a lot worse that to pay a visit to the slumbering chambered cairn of Bealachnancorr. In fact it's not so much 'slumbering' as downright comatose. Hey, bring your insomniac friends and bank a fortune in deferred future goodwill, such is the tranquility on offer here.
Travelling on the A834 from Contin toward Strathpeffer, I take a minor road to the right at Jamestown and head approx east to locate the access road for Beallachnagore Farm. As intimated by Greywether I found parking to be less than straightforward initially; however I eventually squeeze in roadside beside an 'electricity station' (for want of a much better term) near the point where tarmac merges to dirt track. The farmer soon drives by, his friendly demeanour positive mute acceptance of my actions. So, walking up the aforementioned track to the farm, a footpath continues to forest's edge and stile. Once across I follow Greywether's simple directions; turn left, then right... hey, even I can follow those... and suddenly everything's all right with the world, at least for a few hours.
OK, for a chambered cairn there's not a lot of 'cairn' in situ, assuming there's not a volume of stone within the moss. Which is always a possibility, I guess. However a significant number of chamber orthostats still remain erect. Pretty substantial examples of the genre, too, the impression formed by this 'blissed out' traveller that of the bare skeleton of a very impressive monument, albeit lacking capstone(s). 'Blissed out?' Hell yeah! I lie within the chamber and time seems to, well, do whatever the appropriate cliche dictates in such circumstances. Unless you happen to be an insect or bird, of course. No rest for such creatures, or so it appears, the former scurrying all over the place, the latter engaged in full on, noisy mating ritual. Yeah, everything's in its right place, then. Check.
So, Bealachnancorr chambered cairn is more 'chambered' than 'cairn'. But highly recommended to all heads nevertheless. Come and lose yourself for a while in the shadow of Cnoc Mor... and then go and 'vitrify yourself' upon the nearby Knock Farril. Simple pleasures, eh?
An attractive Orkney-Cromarty cairn sitting in an elevated position in a forest clearing with tremendous views over towards the Sgurr Mor mountains.
Most of the cairn material has gone but the chamber stones survive - the tallest being 1.75m high.
Access. There is a waymarked path into the forest through Beallachnagore Farm. If you come this way, turn left when you enter the forest then, a small distance up hill, look for the track to the stones on the right.
Unsure about parking, we came in from the E having parked at NH497562. I don't think we'd have found it without the GPS from this direction. Eventually, we joined up with the route above.
The RCAHMS record says "four orthostats seem to define a polygonal chamber 14ft long and perhaps 9ft wide, while E of a pair of low jamb stones, three low side slabs and a pair of portals should mark a passage 3 1/2 to 4 1/2ft wide and 12 1/2ft long, of which one lintel is more or less in position." So could this possibly be the right location for this folklore (please correct me if not):
On a small eminence at the west end of Park is a number of standing stones, placed in a circular form, and enclosing a space of about 15 feet in diameter, from which two rows run eastward, and make a rectangle of 9 feet by 6 feet. They are supposed to commemorate a bloody battle which took place towards the end of the fifteenth century, between the McKenzies and the McDonalds, headed by Gillespie, cousin of the Lord of the Isles. The chief of the McKenzies had married a sister of the latter; but for some slight reason repudiated here, and is said to have sent her back, by way of insult, with a man and horse, each blind of an eye, as she herself had a similar defect.
Some time thereafter, a predecessor of the Laird of Brodie happened to be on a visit at Kinellan, and on departing received from McKenzie a present of several heads of cattle. As he and his followers were driving these across the low grounds to the west of Druim-chatt, they observed the McDonalds approaching to avenge the insult which had been offered to the sister of their lord, and immediately returned to assist the McKenzies. The remains of the Brodies who fell on the occasion are said to have been buried under these stones.
Tradition attributes the victory which the McKenzies gained chiefly to the aid which they received from a little man with a red night-cap, who appeared suddenly among them. Having knocked down one of the McDonalds, he sat upon the lifeless body, and, when asked the reason, replied, "I have killed only one man, as I am to get the reward only of one man." He was told to kill another, and he would receive double- he did so, and sat on him likewise.
The chief of the McKenzies on learning the circumstance came hastily to him, and said, "Na cunnte ruim's cha chunnte mi ruit," meaning, Don't reckon with me, and I'll not stint thee- whereupon the little man arose, and with every blow knocked down a McDonald, always saying, "'O nach cunntair ruim cha chunnte mi ruit."
He helped the McKenzies to gain a decisive battle, and then disappeared into Loch Kinellan. Gillespie lost his head on the occasion, which is said to have rolled down into a well, where it was afterwards found. This conflict is commonly called the battle of Blar-na-pairc, from the district of this parish in which it was chiefly fought...
From p255 of vol 14 of The New Statistical Account of Scotland By Society for the Benefit of the Sons and Daughters of the Clergy (1845)