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Fieldnotes by drewbhoy

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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.

Glen Banchor (Cairn(s))

We headed down from the fort back down onto the main track to find the small cairn we saw on the way up. From here we headed south west to the mid point between a wood to the north and the River Calder/track to the south.

The small cairn has been clipped by the rarely used track on its western side. Despite this the turf covered monument retains its shape and more importantly several kerbs remain in place.

It is 6m wide and 0.4m high, having slight damage to the centre. This might be more like farm machinery damage than the traditional houking.

Visited 6/4/2018.

Sidhean Mor Dail A' Chaorainn (Enclosure)

After a good look round the Iron Age cairn we squelched to the north of the small hill to climb Sidhean from the north west. Just a short steepish climb to some glorious views of one of my favourite places.

Obviously from the car park follow the previous directions and have a look at the wee cairns. Also look in the middle of the fort/enclosure and find a circular object that looks like a hut circle. Could this be Johnnie Blair's garden?

Next its to the west and two more cairns in this fantastic prehistoric valley.

Visited 6/4/2018.

Sidhean Mor Dail A' Chaorainn (Square) (Cairn(s))

Moving up from the cairn, on the way to the fort, we climbed over the small hill to the west of Sidhean and squelched through a small bog to a fence over which the cairn is situated. This Iron Age cairn, first I've seen specifically called that, is almost 4m square with stones clearly marking the corners.

The main views are south west, looking down Glen Banchor towards the River Calder. Beautiful views!

Visited 6/4/2018.

Sidhean Mor Dail A' Chaorainn (Cairn) (Cairn(s))

From the car park, at the road's end, we continued over the Allt A Chaorainn burn and took the track , heading north, which heads straight to the fort/enclosure.

About 3/4s of a mile up there is a small cairn just to the west of the path.

Sitting at just over 3m in width and 0.3m in height the cairn has impressive views of all the surrounding mountains, rivers and other prehistoric monuments. Several kerbs remain in place despite the site being slightly houked.

Difficult to spot, find the area that looks like a large platform area, the cairn is about 100 metres south.

Visited 6/4/2018.

Creagan Mor (Cairn(s))

The last stop of another wonderful day in the Banchor valley. After several attempts to cross the River Calder I was finally persuaded by A to take the car and dog back to Newtonmore to find a place to park at Ballaid.

From Ballaid we followed a track which led round the edges of a wood, from here we could see the Sidhean car park (near to the scene of my heroic attempts to navigate the river). The track somewhat peters out eventually becoming more of a bog. We headed south west following the edge of the bog which fortunately led straight to a clump of trees which housed the cairn. As with everywhere here the views are simply stunning.

In a great place for a cairn a mound of about 11m in width and 0.6m high is all that remains except for two slabs one which can be easily found, the other covered in deep turf which I left in peace.

After a good look round, there is a lot of scenery, we found a track which turned into path which led straight back to the car. A fine walk through the birches ended a fine day.

Visited 6/4/2018.

Raedykes (Ring Cairn)

Like other visitors to Raedykes I thought there was 4 cairns/stone circles, however according to Canmore there are five. Canmore is right, unfortunately they don't describe the complete nightmare to find it.

I approached from the north (on a beautiful crisp Spring day), from Eddieslaw looked for cairns here, sadly all ploughed out) and there are much easier routes. After ploughing through a bog, jumping several burns and jumping over several fences I made it to dry land without injury. From here its head to the top of the hill. On the hill several deer looked down, their thoughts easy to read....check that idiot! Polite version!

NO 83220 90680

This ring cairn is surrounded by a stone circle with 9 stones still standing, inside several kerbs remain in place. It has been described before. This is the site nearest to West Raedykes steading.

NO 832716 90608

Sitting a short distance west, about 20m, is a cairn half covered in jabby stuff. Still it looks in reasonable condition and looks like it might have a been a kerb cairn. It has been houked in the centre.

From here I walked past the high gorse, jabby stuff etc to the most famous site.

NO 83226 90655

This is a truly fantastic site with truly fantastic scenery to match the imposing standing stones which appear to be looking west, imo. Apart from these stones smaller stones still stand whilst others have fallen. The inner kerb is in the same condition. Sweetcheat's oft used phrase 'gentle restoration' screams here. Maybe one day!

NO 83220 90680

Slightly to the north of the previous there is a small cairn. A small ditch appears to lead to the possible remnants of a cist. Several kerbs also remain in place.

NO 83255 90610

I walked back past the famous standing stones to look south at the highest of the gorse, whins etc over a fairly ruined fence. There was no way through except to crawl or throw myself into the gorse. After what seemed ages I made it through to the tiniest of clearings. If you find this you are standing on the cairn. Crawling round the edges I found several kerbs still in place. It is almost 7m wide and 0.5m high. There is a small hollow in the middle but nothing to suggest serious the cairn.

As for me, another battering but it doesn't matter as Raedykes is one of my favourite places, an essential visit if in the area.

Visited 15/3/2018.

Garlogie (Cairn(s))

The cairn at Garlogie is in a sad state of affairs. As well as forestry inflicted damage, a track has made the eastern half vanish completely. Surely there was room to move track a few metres further east!!

Sitting at 10m (north - south) and 5m wide (due to damage), it looks a decent site approaching from the west being just over 0.5m high. Even several kerbs remain in place.

There has been a lot of prehistory in this area, many hut circles, enclosures and cairns have sadly been removed.

In the middle of Garlogie take the minor road north and pull in at one of small parking spaces. Take a track, any track east, then head south looking for were the ditch deepens. The cairn is immediately west, or what remains of it.

Visited 18/1/2018.
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