This is a rather splendid example of an Orkney-Cromarty chambered cairn.
Situated in mature birch woodlands about 1/4 mile west of Kinrive West long cairn, first impressions are wow!
There is a real impression of scale and size. Although the body of the cairn is long since gone, the outer circumference is visible in its entirety. This serves to frame the remaining huge and regularly shaped chamber stones.
Unfortunately these remaining stones are in such a jumble it was difficult for my untrained eye to put some order to what I was seeing. I was actually quite content just to sit on a tree trunk and enjoy the very positive feeling these massive stones exemplify in a very special setting.
Theres a very well preserved cist in the NW quarter.
Access is relatively easy, if a little damp underfoot.
This cairn - the 1st of 3 that I visited this day is only about 3 miles from my front door and its taken me 2 years to get round to visiting it.
The term long cairn could have been invented to describe this rather large monument. It is in excess of 200ft long running roughly east-west and about a uniform 45ft wide. Due to the slope of the hill it is about 3-4m tall on the lower edge and about 1m tall on the upper edge.
The cairn lies at the lower edge of cultivated upland pasture which is surrounded by mature birch woodland. The surrounding fields are full of regular shaped lumps and bumps (and sheep) - some of which are described on the FC info board which sits on a plinth just below the cairn.
With the exception of some robber holes, the cairn looks virtually intact to me ( which is a bit of a surprise given the almost total destruction of the nearby Kings Head cairn) although there are no signs of any horns. There are some enormous (clearance) stones on the northern flank. I couldnt see any sign of the stone wall mentioned in Canmore.
I know (from Henshall) that the RCAHMS has done extensive field surveys on this hillside. I would love to see the results.
I spoke to one of the lads who farms here. He said he has never been asked before about the cairns- he only sees the occasional mountain biker who uses the road to access the hilltops and tracks over the hill into Strathrory and the Struie .The FC info board was built years ago - shame that no-one sees it.
The modern Forestry Commission have to be commended for their far-thinking approach to land management and the proactive preservation of our heritage.
There are other local instances (which I'll dig out)where the Commission team here in the North have contributed to the the vast cache of archeological gems which have been largely hidden and forgotten since many huge stands of conifers were planted in the 40's and 50's.
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I grew up in the central Highlands surrounded by the past and listening to stories of the past.
I have worked my whole life on the sea - I now have a real obsession to get away from it!!! The sea in my blood?? ......... b....cks!!
My passions are the wild and remote hills, glens and mountainsides of the Scottish Highlands. Mix in my dog, boots, an OS map and prehistory - Heaven!!
Not for me the potted History of Scotland AD....... nae interested. The mysteries of the peoples who populated these shores BC?.... now you've got me.