The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Cnoc Chaornaidh

Chambered Cairn


This, the first of many chambered cairns encountered along the A837 by the megalithically-minded traveller salivating in anticipation of sampling the wonders - natural or otherwise - of Coigach and Assynt is, in my opinion, a worthy introduction to the area. OK, as Nick states, there is very little cairn remaining; however it would appear that the majority of a series of impressively substantial orthostats remain in situ forming a polygonal chamber archetypal of apparent immovable permanence. Or so it would appear to me today... a constant reference point in an ever changing world often verging upon the ludicrous. But there you are. We must be thankful - although to what, if anything, I do not know - that some such 'anchors' continue to survive as bench marks to (arguably) preserve the sanity of an oft' bewildered homo sapien such as I. Anyway....

An initial glance at the map is not promising, the monument depicted as being set only a little back from the A837, occupying a shallow rise to the approx SW of the antennae-crowned, craggy summit of Cnoc Chaornaidh. Noisy, then? Er no. Prospective visitors should bear in mind that, although designated an 'A' road, the A837 at this point is one of those 'single track with passing places' so idiosyncratic of the northern Highlands. Yeah, things are different up here. If approaching from the SE, note Loch Craggie and the more diminutive Loch Eileag to your left.... then, just after crossing the Allt Eileag (river), look for the stones rising from the hillside to the right, a little beyond the existing forestry boundary. Incidentally the map shows another chambered cairn within said trees... Handily there is a layby nearby which is just about ideal to reverse into. Hey, or nose into. Your prerogative. Then hope over the fence, negotiate the rough grassland and hang out for a while.

As mentioned there is a real sense of solidity at this monument - the slipped cap stone notwithstanding - the sweeping view NW toward the beckoning uplands of Inverpolly hinting at what is to come. Speaking of which, these bare bones of a chambered cairn are just for starters, two more beauties lying just beyond Cnoc Chaornaidh. It'd be rude not to go and have a look while I'm here.
1st September 2013ce
Edited 2nd September 2013ce

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