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


Chambered Cairn


In stark contrast to a number of other monuments in the area..... there is actually a fair volume of cairn material remaining in this, the lower of the two chambered cairns sited to the north of Loch Borralan.

According to fieldwork undertaken for Assynt's 'Hidden Lives Project' [2009] the cairn is "...approximately 15m by 12m, aligned E-W with a maximum height of 2m." Sadly the report adds "The site has been described as a round cairn of Orkney-Cromarty group with a polygonal chamber [by Audrey Henshall - Gladman]. There is no evidence of the slabs of the bi-partite chamber as described in 1911 and the site appears to have been considerably disturbed since the last report from 1962". Pity. No, more's the pity, but there you are. No one died. In historic times, anyway! However, for what it's worth - needless to say more opinion required - I was less than convinced that no trace of the 'former' chamber is visible, this layman noting a couple of 'slab-like' orthostats upon the approx southern arc. Splitting hairs, perhaps.... and, from my perspective, Nick is correct to assert that there is not a great deal of 'proper' structural archaeology to see. But....

There is more to these great northern Highland sites than the surviving archaeology... the location upon the shore of Loch Borralan is, in my opinion, truly exquisite. Oh, come on! What is not to like? Particularly with a large, well defined crannog visible within the loch to the north-west, that serrated Inverpolly skyline.... including Suilven (!!)... and, last but not least - to my mind - one of Scotland's most enigmatic chambered cairns keeping watch above, perched, almost incognito, upon the steep hillside to approx north-east. Taken as a pair the Loch Borralan chambered cairns are surely 'the business'. The lower, at the very least, is a worthwhile apperitif.

I reckon well worth a visit, then. If you fancy it, drive past the Altnacealgach Motel (heading north-west, that is) and the site will be found lochside, opposite the second main house encountered (I think). The great eastern monument stands above and to the right of said house.
2nd September 2013ce
Edited 11th January 2015ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment