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

Kings Head Kinrive wood

Chambered Cairn


As with local man Strathspey before me... I struggle to devise a coherent reconstruction of this fabulous site in my 'mind's eye' since, unlike the nearby long monument, cairn material is very much notable by its absence. The orientation of the chamber is perplexing, somewhat paradoxically so since a great deal of the skeletal structure remains upstanding. These are substantial stones, too. Perhaps this mild sense of disorientation has its source in the intimate environment of this sun-dappled wood... the trees - birches, or so the Mam C would no doubt have informed me if she had been here - all but negating what would have been a fine view toward the Cromarty Firth to the approx south. Guess the entrance would've faced that-a-way, then... what I initially took to be part of a facade, on second thoughts constituting the rear of a very large chamber.

Best hear from the experts, Canmore citing the King's Head cairn as being:

'Round with polygonal chamber of Orkney-Cromarty type. The cairn itself is almost entirely removed but its edge is quite distinct showing a diameter of 85ft EW and 75ft NS. The chamber is constructed of large slabs and stands clear and almost intact..... Seven feet NW of the back of the chamber is a cist with four side stones measuring 3 by 4ft and at least 3ft 6ins deep. [A S Henshall 1963]'

The cist mentioned above is a beautiful example of the genre, albeit without cap stone. Well worth a visit in its own right and no mere supporting act, even to such an impressive, if dishevelled chamber as we have here. Dishevelled? I reckon so, but in such a manner as to impart oodles and oodles of vibe of the highest order. Thankfully a birch tree formerly mentioned by Canmore 'whose roots envelope the structure' is no more, suggesting consolidation. Or perhaps it simply expired of old age? Whatever the truth, the sum of the King's Head's parts, to me, represent the best of all worlds. Again, as with Strathspey, I am compelled to sit and simply do nothing except watch trees throw shadows across ancient stones... which I can do all day, to be fair. Oh, and silently curse that bloke from Boyzone - I think - for being right all along. The chambered cairn within Kinrive Wood certainly does say it best.... by saying nothing at all.

To sample the delights of this excellent site head downhill from the equally fine long cairn to follow the fence line to the approx south-west. Exquisite.
29th August 2013ce
Edited 29th August 2013ce

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