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Clach an t-Sagairt

Chambered Cairn

<b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Nearest Town:Lochgilphead (17km SSE)
OS Ref (GB):   NM806045 / Sheet: 55
Latitude:56° 10' 56.72" N
Longitude:   5° 32' 8.54" W

Added by winterjc

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<b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by greywether <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by greywether <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by greywether <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by winterjc <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by winterjc <b>Clach an t-Sagairt</b>Posted by winterjc


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Well sited within rocky pasture overlooking the north-eastern end of Loch Craignish, with the wondrous Kintraw monolith and associated cairns located across the water to the approx east, I found the exposed chamber of Clach an t-Sagairt a joy to behold. Truly I did. As mentioned by those who came before, access is complicated a little by the proximity of housing. Although I'm not exactly enamoured with the thought of knocking on people's doors, being a somewhat typically reticent Englishman, I would nevertheless recommend doing so here since this is a spot to simply chill out for a while without distractions.

Travelling south-west upon the B8002 at Adfern, take the 'Soroba road' uphill to the right near the bus stop. A little way along this look, again, to the right for 'Bluebell Cottage' (hopefully I've recalled this correctly) and duly ask at the house at the top of the cul-de-sac for access... i.e. not any of those beyond further to the right. The young lady answering the door knew what I was after before I had the chance to utter a word.... the 'standing stones', before you have the opportunity to infer any ungentlemanly motive ... readily agreeing to my pre-empted request, as of course a charming young lady would. Now this could have been due to my 'devastating charm'. But I doubt it. Why, she's even left a short length of her back fence free from the dreaded barbed-wire to kindly ensure stoneheads avoid damaging the soft bits when entering the meadow.

The monument is worth the effort, three uprights supporting a capstone ('1.8m by 1.6m and up to 0.3m thick' [RCAHMS 1988]) to form a pretty substantial chamber within the remains of what appeared to be a circular cairn, albeit not that well defined a cairn. A chambered cairn, then. A couple of other stones stand close by including an 'upright slab.. 1m by 0.15m and protruding 0.45m' [RCAHMS 1988], together with what I took to be evidence of a secondary burial within the cairn. Then again maybe not? What is beyond dispute, however, is the manner in which the teeming downpour that greeting my arrival morphed into a beautiful, sunny late morning. Yeah, there are certainly many worse places to be than sat above Loch Craignish at Clach an t-Sagairt, hidden away in semi-obscurity. It seems the chamber was 'cleared' - as opposed to excavated - in the 1920's when 'ashes and splinters of bone', together with fragments of pottery 'said to resemble Food Vessels', were discovered.

The monument deserves to be better known, I guess. But then again is doing pretty well as it is, thank you very much.
10th August 2013ce
Edited 10th August 2013ce

Although surrounded on two sides by modern housing, the hills and loch on the other two still give this ruined cairn a pleasant outlook. It's just a pity that some of the pleasure is destroyed by the litter at the site.

It appears to have a S orientation and to have been housed in a round cairn.

Visited 22 June 2004
greywether Posted by greywether
23rd June 2004ce

This was worth the visit while we were up visiting Kintraw in Feb. 2000.
This is a simple cairn, with capstone still attatched.
We got directions from an eccentric, elderly woman who smelled of whisky and we didn't expect to find it. The Cairn sits above the hamlet of Ardfern which is on the shore of the (sea) Loch Craignish, in a field beside a newish private house. The owners were helpful and we had the company of thier happy little collie dog for the duration of our visit.
Take the Road uphill from the village (towards Craobh) for about a hundred metres, then the private house is up a drive on the right hand side.
Posted by winterjc
25th November 2001ce


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The island seems to feature in one of Gladman's photos. And "the ancient burial ground" referred to must surely be the chambered cairn? I don't see anything else that fits the bill really.
Ghostly Happening.
Sir, I am writing to let you know of a strange experience I had in 1940 when travelling around Argyll on my bicycle. I always loved the beautiful lonely places and had no fear whatever at that time, travelling and exploring on my own. I came to Ardfern, there was a pleasant villa (the first house I came to) with a "Bed and Breakfast" sign. I booked in for the weekend. Directly opposite was an island and at low tide there was an easy approach. So I determined to go to it and explore.

So on Sunday morning I borrowed a walking stick and set off. The sun was shining and the 'island' looked lovely. I decided to climb to the top and admire the view down the loch. As I began my climb I was increasingly aware that the one thing I wanted to do was to get off that island. This seemed absurd, there I was in full view of the houses of Ardfern, in a state bordering on fear.

I had never experienced such a sensation before. I MADE myself climb to the top, had a brief glimpse of the lovely loch, ran all the way down and got off with a feeling of relief.

On my way back I met my landlady. "You weren't very long on the island," she said. "No," I replied, and paused. "I have been in my house for 12 years. I was once on the island. I will never go back," she said. We left it at that.

Now, with your knowledge of local history, do you know of any happenings, so awful that they would leave an "impression" behind? I did note from my maps that opposite was an Ancient Burial Ground, and wondered if there might be any connection with the island. As the houses in Ardfern are modern there might be very few there, if any, at the time the burial ground was used. [...] If any place is in need of exorcism that area definitely is! So if you go "with candle, with book and with bell" let me know and I'll join you!

I am etc. Annie L.K. Green, Bonnington, Peebles.
A letter in the Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser, 23rd April 1987.
It sounds like classic outdoor Pan-ic to me?
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th June 2023ce


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Clach an t-Sagairt is Gaelic for 'The Sacred Stone(s)' or possibly 'Stone(s) of the Priest'. Sagairt derives from the Latin 'sacerdos' where we get the word 'sacred' from. Posted by winterjc
25th November 2001ce


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Kilmartin House Museum

Excellent web site. This link is to photo and description of the Cairn, including details of archaelogical finds.
Posted by winterjc
25th November 2001ce