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

Allt Carn Bhain

Chambered Cairn


Site visit 13 July 2017

I always find myself at North Sannox for a few hours each year. My OH does a pony trek up Glen Sannox each year when we visit Arran... so I have a little free time on my hands. The reference on Canmore to a chambered cairn on the slope below the fort on Torr Reamhar was intriguing. No-one noticed what it was till the 1990's? Well, new old things are turning up all the time on Arran... I was leg-knackered from conquering Goatfell the day before so this was going to be a gentle strool and an appropriately sedate pace.
I struck uphill from the farm at North Sannox staying on the improved pasture side of the wire fence. The fields have a few sheep and are used for grazing ponies and horses too. Once at the level of the Communications Mast (just a couple of hundred feet up) strike out across the side of the hill staying on the contour line. You cross a stream and the wee path carries you directly across the hillside to a large pile of stones. This isn't the cairn you are looking for - but a mighty cairn it certainly is (even if Canmore and OS haven't noticed it yet).
Keep going acroos the side of the hill. A few hundred feet above on the skyline, the steep sided rocky stump which is topped by Torr An T' Sean Chaisteil looks over the North Sannox Valley (it is a marvellous hillfort site and a beautiful viewpoint but there was no time on this outing).
The Allt Carn Bhain cairn comes into view a little below and just on the other side of an old field boundary. It is an easy stroll down and across.
The cairn is quite substantial though it has been ripped-oot at some point. The bleached white bones of a sheep lie at the East End in a deep scoop. The West End of the cairn is marked by a massive triangular conglomerate boulder jutting out of the small hillside terrace like a tooth. Among the granite stones and boulders lie out-of-place and odd-looking river and beach rolled stones. Within the cairn material a few upright slabs can be made out and there is what appears to be a partial chamber in a hollow on the North side.
I ate a sandwich and had some juice while perched on the big triangular conglomerate boulder, peering down at the Lochranza Road. I watched two Golden Eagles fly in from the crooked corrie of The Devil's Punchbowl at the end of the Goatfell Ridge and then made my way down to the the old ruins of the clearance township at the bottom of the hill. I walked out along to North Sannox Farm to wait for my OH returning from her pony trek. While I sat I got chatting to a woman now living in Vancouver, who, it turned out, half a centuiry ago grew up three streets away from me in a town in Ayrshire and went to school with my late brother. I didn't dare tell her that by a pure fluke I had a Canadian Flag in the boot of my car. Small world.
Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
16th July 2017ce
Edited 16th July 2017ce

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