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Fieldnotes by drewbhoy

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Riereach Burn (Cairn(s))

From Barevan Bridge we headed east and took the first minor road heading south towards Glengeoullie, at which point the road ends. After asking permission we headed south on a decent track crossing the Riereach Burn at the Braevall Fords. With the water being so low this was an easy crossing. On another day.........................

Take the track to the west of burn, today it was a good time to look to the east of burn. Sandmartins, hundreds of them, flying about and taking advantage of the sandy banks.

After about another mile look east for a solitary stick on a bump or a solitary stone lying beside it. This is the cairn and I would think this could a pretty much undisturbed site. A kerb some fallen some standing still surrounds the cairn, difficult to spot but still there. The slab mentioned by Canmore is also still sitting in the middle of cairn. It still sits at 1m high being almost 9m wide. Beautiful views north to the Black Isle, east/west heather covered moors and to the south Carn A Mhais Leathain (the track ends up there).

However both Drew and dog were needing to head back, after a look around, to paddle our feet in the burn. We'd chosen the hottest day of the year to go hiking in open moor.

Thank goodness for hats!

Visited 18/7/2018.

Dun Evan (Hillfort)

We parked at the Barevan Bridge crossing the Allt Dearg Burn near West Barevan farm. Fortunately this is slightly north to the large burn so no wading involved.

From here we walked north through a field and jumped over a small burn shaded in trees. Once on the other side of the trees it was forest clearence on Fangorn size proportions. As we all know this makes walking conditions a nightmare but eventually we made it to were trees still survived. There is a track, not on the map, that goes up the west side of the fort. Luckily , for us, it led straight to the fort.

Also luckily is that the fort seems to have avoided any serious damage caused by the forestry work on the west. The rest of the outer edges are untouched. To the south, east and west the outer wall that surrounded the site has fallen over the edge. Parts of the wall still remain to the north in the inner part of the fort, the flattest side.

Most of the fallen wall is covered in moss which in turn is covered in ferns and numerous other types of vegetation. However it was a fairly large fort being 56m by 23m. Outer parts of the defences can just about be seen but, they to, are turf and moss covered. The well mentioned by Feachem (crikey we owe this guy a lot as well) is still there to catch the unwary.

A cracking place to build a fort. Just a pity, like many forest forts, that the vegetation takes over.
Still a very worthwhile place to visit.

Visited 18/7/2018.

Cantraydoune (Cairn(s))

Cantraydoune is a very easy site to find, we were en route to Dun Evan, as it is next to the minor road that eventually heads east from near the Clavas. It also gives the chance to drive under and appreciate the magnificent Nairn Viaduct.

Sadly the cairn, tho it looks like an attempt has been made to leave it alone (a very bad attempt), has taken a bit of a pounding. It still sits at 8m wide and is just about 1m high but to the north and west much damage has happened. Two kerbs remain earthfast whilst 3 others seemed to have been rolled away to the west. Tree stumps sit on top which explains the damage, recent forestry work.

Still it does have nice views of the River Nairn valley, if heading west go to the Clavas to cheer yourself up, if a glutton for punishment go to Dun Evan.

Visited 18/7/2018.

Feabuie (Kerbed Cairn)

The hard to see/find Feabuie looks over the Rough Burn to the south. This burn, at the moment, is well and truly rough, it was bone dry. In fact a lot of the burns we saw on this particular day were dry, such has been the summer.

We went south west through the village of Balloch and took the first minor road heading east pulling in 3 gates before the farm at East Feabuie. From here we headed straight north, over a fence, down to the dried up burn and then up the other side.

The cairn is set in a clearing but it is difficult to spot as it is covered in grass and ferns. Luckily one of the kerbs can be on the west side. Canmore say 6, I say 8 kerbs in a cairn that is over 7 meters wide and only 0.2m high.

Once again a cairn in the woods and complete silence, being near Culloden very apt.

Best approached from the west to see the kerb.

Visited 18/11/2018.

Lagnagreishach Wood (Cairn(s))

From the west of Nairn take the B9092 then the second minor road heading nprth west. As soon as the road has trees near both sides find a place to park, there is an old forestry track to the north side. Park there and walk a short distance west until a path, in bits overgrown, heads south. This swings back east ad heads straight to confusing and hard to spot site.

OS have it marked as an enclosure/cairn (and in the past described the site as a small fort) and Canmore has it down as a henge/cairn. Probably it has been used as all three. Here is the Canmore description :

A well preserved cairn, levelled into a slight SW facing slope in reafforested, Lagnagreishach Wood.

'It comprises an oval platform measuring c 7.0m SW/NE by c 6.0m transversely, surrounded by a ditch c 2.5m wide and c 0.4m deep with an outer earthen bank c 2.5m wide and c 0.3m high. Across the ditch in the SW is a causeway c 2.0m wide, which is mutilated by a tree stump, with a corresponding break in the bank. The central platform is slightly raised, c 0.2m, above the surrounding ground level by a turf-covered crown of closely packed rubble stones which covers the whole platform.'

All of which is present and correct. Beware bramble branches!

Visited 18/7/2018.

Delnies (Cist)

Delnies is a couple miles west of Nairn on the A96. Whilst making the road to Carnoch House the cist was discovered along with pebbles of a cairn. Fortunately the cist, 4 slabs, was not sent to stone crusher and was re-erected a short distance away in a wood a short distance from its original spot. The male skeleton was presented to Aberdeen Uni by the aptly named D. H. Cairns.

I parked near the entrance to Carnoch House and was given permission by the owner to do so. The man and wife team then gave me the history of the cist. From the driveway/track follow the first woodland path heading south west. Follow the track until a large curve, the cist can be seen impersonating Jaws in a small clearing.

A good start to the day.

Visited 18/7/2018.

Laggan Hill (Kerb) (Kerbed Cairn)

Laggan Hill is an old friend and its always wonderful to look south over Nethy Bridge and the Boat of Garten to the Cairngorms. I don't know why I haven't visited this cairn before but it provided a fitting end to a lovely day traipsing about to the north of Grantown on Spey.

I parked were the A938 meets the A95 and walked up to the gates of Easter Laggan. Keep following the track towards the masts on the top of the hill. This is a lovely walk, the last time I'd visited (from this side) I'd walked a huge amount of miles but today it had been far more easier.

Keep going until the trees end on the east side then head east over the fence and into the heather.

The cairn also has glorious views along the Spey Valley. It sits at 7m wide and reaches almost 1m in height. Sitting near a large outcrop there are at least seventeen graded kerbs. The smallest stones on the high point with large stones on the lowest point. It also appears that the turf covered cairn hasn't been houked.

Good news to end a superb day.

Visited 11/7/2018.

Neavuie (Burnt Mound / Fulacht Fia)

Neavuie is a very easy site to find being close to a minor road. We headed south from Carn Bad A'churaich, on the B9007, to the A938 at Duthil. From there we headed east until the first minor road heading north. I was allowed to park at Neavuie Cottage.

A short walk, north east, leads to the site which is the biggest burnt mound I've seen so far. The mound is 10m in diameter being almost 1.7m at its highest tapering to 0.4m at its lowest. Apart from some damage probably caused by a long removed tree the burnt mound stands as it always has.

The small stream, dried up as it was during our visit, still has the three boulders which might have been a very poor attempt at a dam. Anyway a nice place on a rapidly improving day.

Visited 11/7/2018.

Carn Bad A'Churaich (Cairn(s))

Carn Bad A'Churaich is a very small cairn situated next to the B9007. From our spot at Aitnoch we went back, east to the A939 and headed north west until the first minor road heading west. This heads thru Little Aitnoch (farm) and meets the B9007 at the Dunearn crossroads. Straight across leads to the fort, which now was clearly visible thanks to the weather improving. We headed south stopping at the second track heading east.

This and other tracks seem to be used by the windfarm companies. The cairn has a windfarm sub station a few metres to the north.

Several decent sized kerbs remain in place surrounding the 6m wide cairn which at its highest would be barely 0.2m high. What Canmore have missed is two large slabs in the middle of the jabby stuff possibly the remains of a cist. There are also great all round views, especially of Dunearn Fort to the north west.

The cairn is situated between the track and B9007. Climb up the small slope to the south east and look for the jabby plant.

Visited 11/7/2018.

Aitnoch (Cairn(s))

From Dava we headed south leaving the A940 to join the A939. Take the first minor road heading west, this leads to Lochindorb one of my favourite places, home to a beautiful loch and castle. Still beautiful but not so visible as the countryside was shrouded in a drizzly mist.

We parked about a mile along the minor road and headed north west. A steep down slope leads to the Dorback Burn. Some fine places for the dog to swim, more crucially several places were rocks are like stepping stones. At some point it looks like someone has tried to dam the small river.

Once on the other side keep going uphill and north west thru the heather and field clearence.

Heather covered kerbs surround the site which sits at 8m wide and 0.5m tall. Despite some houking it looks like the burial part of the cairn hasn't been disturbed. Cairn material can also be spotted on top of the site.

The mist and drizzle gives a ghostly atmosphere and once again, like Feabuie, there is complete silence. Then suddenly the mists rises a little bit giving just enough time to see the loch and castle.

Beautiful place!

Visited 11/7/2018.

Carn Biorach (Cairn(s))

We took the track, from near Dava on the A940, which leads to Aittendow past the track to Station House. After this take the first track heading north. When it becomes reasonably clear look for a single tree beside a fence.

As the Ts said the fence goes thru the middle of the cairn. The cists make the cairn recognisable as a lot of the stones there a probably field clearence. One or two are kerbs in this easily found and superbly located site.

Visited 11/7/2018.

Moss of Feabuie (Cairn(s))

Although Feabuie is quite a short distance from Meikle Corshellach it is a difficult place to reach.

From Corshellach, we followed the fence line northish to a gate, jumped it and headed further north into the forest break. After a short distance we headed north east into a wilderness of fallen trees and knee deep bogs. However we battered on and reached the forest clearing which housed the site.

There is something about ancient sites amongst old trees, the atmosphere, stillness, loneliness or remoteness all combine to give a other worldly type of feeling. I like it.

The cairn is about 10m wide but has been clipped by forestry works giving it an oval shape. Moss covered stones also add to the old age feel, some of these being kerbs still in situ. There appears to a windbreak but the overall height is around 0.5m.

Complete silence, what a nice place to be.

Visited 11/7/2018.

Meikle Corshellach (Cairn(s))

From Forres head south on the A940 until Glenernie. Take the minor road heading east going under the impressive Divie viaduct until the tarred road ends. Keep going until the small power station (wind farm), the track is in excellent condition.

Follow the fence heading north on the west side of the station, Burn Wind Farm, which leads straight to the cairn. Fortunately the cairn has not been damaged by recent events and still sits in place.

Several kerbs can be seen in the turf, although there has been a small bit of houk damage. The cairn sits at over 8m wide and is 0.8m tall.

A very easy start to the day. Our next site wouldn't be so easy.

Visited 11/7/2018.

Dunachtonmore North (Cairn(s))

Just to the north west of the Dunachtonmore Cairn and on top of a wee climb sits another cairn.

This site is smaller, 8m wide and 1m high, and has some massive kerbs. Once again the centre has been houked to reveal what was probably the place for a cist. Being slightly higher up there are spectacular views east to Cairngorms, wonderful scenery in the Spey valley and to the west, Creag Mor.

A completely unexpected but superb end to a day that started early and included many miles on foot. The dog probably walked twice as much, equally good as she slept all the way home.

Visited 27/4/2018.

Dunachtonmore (Cairn(s))

I didn't expect very much when arriving at this cairn, even Canmore relegates the cairn to a discovery made during rabbit control. What I saw was way beyond expectations.

From Torr Advie we continued south on the B9152 until the subway sign which has Duntachmore and interestingly the Scottish Sheep Dog Training centre on it. Keep going past Duntachtonmore Farm and park were the road widens. (I asked permission) From there walk or wade through the small wood which on this occasion was a mud bath. Once into the clear the track dries and a pleasant walk on the banks of the Dunachtonmore Burn.

Stay on the track which leads almost straight to the cairn. I think this is a type of ring cairn. At least 1 stone stands whilst other large stones are used as kerbs to surround the 12m wide cairn. It sits at 1m high. Signs of a cist are in the middle but some houking as occurred. No turf or any other vegetation completely covers the site, which makes it easy to see when approaching from the east.

A beautiful site, made all the more interesting by some weird noises..............................the Highland Wildlife Park is on the other side of the trees.

Visited 26/4/2018.

Torr Alvie (Hillfort)

Torr Alvie commands some stunning all round views particularly the Spey Valley. We approached by taking the B9152 south from Aviemore and parked at the entrance to the caravan site at Dalraddy. From here we walked following the tarred road over an old railway bridge, took the first track north, then a track east and eventually a track heading north. There is a massive monument dedicated to the Duke of Gordon (Gordon Highlanders chap), head for that as it sits at the northern end of the fort.

Near the monument, the forts defences have been almost totally removed. However bits of rampart remain on the east and west flanks, some parts of wall reaching 3 meters in width. The inside of the fort looks very flat and the Iron Age folks might have altered the slopes (according to Canmore). Whatever they did it was large scale as the fort is over 80m long and 30m wide.

A very impressive setting, the hike up well worth it if only just for the views. Underfoot conditions are excellent all the way to the top.

Visited 27/4/2018.

Creag A' Mhuilein (Cairn(s))

Leave the B970 (south from Coylum Bridge) and take the road to Loch an Eilein, pulling in at Milton Cottage. Head south west by jumping the Milton Burn, then head uphill.

The cairn sits on top pf Geag A' Mhuilein, a short but fairly steep climb.

Sitting at about 12m and 0.5m high, the cairn still has several kerbs in place. As usual somebody has had a go at some houking.

Tremendous views, decent site if somewhat overgrown. With that done it was time to fall back down the hill.

Visited 19/4/2018.

The Drum (Cairn(s))

The Drum has a great location, surrounded by mountains and lochs. Across the river, Spey, is a fort and further east another cairn. There are possible duns in the area which I'll investigate at some point.

Sadly the cairn, which is oval shaped, has largely gone. Several intermittent kerbs remain in place, the height of the cairn never reaching more than 0.3m.

A case of 'what if'.

Still, a very beautiful place.

Head south west from Coylum Bridge on the B970 and pull in just beyond the road to Loch an Eilein. The cairn is in the field to the east.

Visited 19/4/2018.

Creag Phitiulais (Stone Fort / Dun)

This dun had defeated me four times in the past, lost, exhausted, blizzards and a missing dog had contributed to previous attempts. A good thing because it meant we had to come back.

I parked near the Pityoulish Standing Stone and headed south east along the track towards Kincardine Cottage. From here head straight west. Underfoot conditions are fine if somewhat undulating along with a few sneaky hiding rocks. Once over the second ridge a bog will be reached, on the other side looking down is the dun.

A stunning location which for miles along the Spey beyond Grantown, north towards Carrbridge, west towards Aviemore, to the south Creag a' Ghreusaiche looms.

The dun is oval shaped 8m by 9m. At some points the wall is almost 4m wide. Parts of the wall remain built but sadly most of it has fallen. Northern and eastern defences are further boosted by steep cliffs. The front door is in the west, which is how I swung up from the bog. As per usual the shepherds have made small wind breaks. Nothing detracts from this dun, a lovely place to sit and let your imagination run riot.

Going back down we headed north to look for a cup marked rock which remained invisible. On reaching a clearance, apt, we found the remains of a township, a ghost town.

After that it was head straight north which led straight back to the car. Much easier than the way up.

Visited 27/4/2018.

Glenbanchor 2 (Cairn(s))

From the cairn near the fence we headed down the track towards the River Calder and headed west. After crossing a small ford follow a small track heading north west towards a small wood.

At some point this must have been a huge cairn but now all that is left is a faint reminder of former glories. Canmore says 13m wide but it seems to me that some earthfast stones indicate 18m plus. Large kerbs still remain in place on the south side. Whatever its width it is easy to spot were the stones went.

Less than 10m east there is the remnants of a massive enclosure and possibly a small croft.

Pity, as glorious all round views of river and snowy mountains. Perfect :-)

Visited 6/4/2018.
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Still doing the music, following that team, drinking far to much and getting lost in the hills! (Some Simple Minds, Glasvegas, Athlete, George Harrison, Empire Of The Sun, Nazareth on the headphones, good boots and sticks, away I go!)

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