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

Cairn O' Mount

Round Cairn


This is quite possibly one of the easiest major upland cairns to visit in the UK, being just a very short walk from the B974. Consequently - as you would no doubt expect - it's by no means a classic, having inevitably suffered somewhat from the unwanted attentions of motor travellers 'stretching their legs' - if not their minds - over the years .... note however that, most unusually, there would appear to have been little removal of mass... rather the opposite, in fact, giving the cairn a rather contemporary 'feel', shall we say? Yeah, somehow I don't think they used concrete slabs back in the Bronze Age, although whether these form the remnants of an OS triangulation pillar, which apparently once crowned the cairn, is a moot point.

Despite the in truly appalling conditions of driving rain, I'm joined by several passing visitors during my hour on site... the Germans, at least, quite receptive to my 'most probably Bronze Age' explanations. I say 'most probably' because, somehow, Cairn O'Mount seems almost too well positioned to be true, perfectly located to take in a truly exceptional view towards the coast to the south. Having said that, though, Canmore appears quite convinced, so more than happy with that. The other points of the compass present vistas of rounded, heather-clad hills swept by opaque clouds of vapour this late afternoon. No doubt on better days the effect is sublime, rather than brutal... but there is no denying the vibe today.

There are a number of other cairns in the vicinity, that mentioned by Drewbhoy, immediately beside the road, a fragment of its (presumed) former self. Another, St Ringan's Cairn, downhill to the approx south [NO 6549 7944], apparently formed the base of a Pictish Cross Slab found within during 1965. Not Bronze Age, then - unless an existing cairn was 'recycled' - but any surviving link to the Picts should be treasured. The latter monument suggests a long standing continuity of local ritualist practice upon this high ground which has continued to this very day in the guise of a myriad deposits of flowers and more personal offerings covering the immediate environs of Cairn O'Mount. I'm normally against such things but.... well.... the examples I looked at were so heartbreakingly poignant in content - not to mention overtly Christian (which I admit was most unexpected) - as to banish any thought of negative reservations. Hey, I guess you have to (try to) cope with the loss of loved ones in any way you can.

Cairn O'Mount. Still relevant after millennia, still serving the local community.
19th June 2011ce
Edited 19th June 2011ce

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