Dyer describes this long cairn as being 'badly damaged'......... but don't let that put you off for I believe this to be an essential visit. Despite the obvious robbing of the chamber areas, this remains a very substantial monument, the environs full of atmosphere, the state of preservation no doubt assisted by the relative isolation of the site - but yes, I agree that the dry stone structure within the eastern end of the cairn is modern. More's the pity, but you can't have everything, can you?
I approached from the cattle grid on the minor road to the east(ish) at approx SH69350680, a great road, as it happens, with a stunning panorama of the Howgills as you put on your boots. For put on your boots you must if you want to avoid soggy feet. From here a prominent fence line follows the course of Rayseat Sike (stream) towards the monument. There's a path of sorts to the left of the fence, but I'd recommend sticking to the right to avoid having to climb the barbed-wire later on. Although very boggy, with heather underfoot to twist those ankles if you don't concentrate, persevere because in about half a mile or so (I think) the long cairn is unmissable above to your right.
As mentioned, the vibe here is incredible, the landscape wild and uncompromising, a harrier (or similar bird of prey) hovering just above my head before obviously deciding a Gladman wasn't worth the effort. Probably too stringy or something. The Howgills skyline is the finishing touch.
Sad to report, however, the decomposing head of a ram caught in the aforementioned fence. Sure this wasn't some sort of offering, judging by the entanglement of the horns. I once had to free such a creature from a similar fate at Kilmartin with the hacksaw from my car tool-kit... but not today. Such is life... and death at Rayseat.
Took my dry stone waller friend up here the other day and he pronounced the 'intact chamber' to be a modern grouse butt. Seeing there is a whole sweep of grouse butts on the slopes around the cairn and the stones of the 'chamber' look relatively recently placed I was convinced. Likewise the surrounding wall - all recent. But dont let that detract from the site - it's awesome !
I only went to this site as a last minute detour on my way to the Castle Folds settlement after visiting Sunbiggin Tarn its a long barrow marked on the O.S. maps but no references to it on the SMR so i was expecting to be underwhelmed.
After getting stuck in the middle of a thunderstorm i found the barrow and remember thinking how huge it was as i approached it (its actually 150 metres long!) i climbed up the top of the barrow and was very suprised to find three chambers one being quite well intact.
Its obviously been cut into quite a bit but still retains its basic shape, the barrow starts with a bank then a small 'courtyard' where you walk into the main chamber behind that is another deep cut and a possible chamber and further on towards the back where the cairn tapers off. It was that good i actually ended up spending the entire day here.
At Rasate, near Sunbiggen tarn, are two tumuli, in opening which it was discovered, that they contained many human skeletons lying circularly with their heads all towards the top of the hill, and their hands placed upon their breasts.
I'm not quite sure how this would work unless the tumuli were at the tip top of the hill (were there some higher than this cairn?). But it sounds suitably weird at least.
*p 180 in The Beauties of England and Wales by John Britton, v14 (1813)