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Oxen Craig (Cairn(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Oxen Craig</b>Posted by thelonious

Tap o' Noth (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Tap o' Noth</b>Posted by thelonious

Gouk Stone, Kinaldie (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Gouk Stone, Kinaldie</b>Posted by thelonious

Ben Griam Beg (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Griam Beg</b>Posted by thelonious

Ben Griam Beg (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

01/07/2022 – It had been a long 12 years since we were last here. I haven’t planned a revisit, yet here we were, plodding up the hill again. We were staying in the nearby Garvault Hotel for a few days (sign above the door stating it was mainland Britain’s most remote hotel). It’s quite a unique place and well worth a stay. Nice folk who live/work there. Main reason we were here was for the walking. If you like lonely quiet landscapes, this is the place to be.

Starting the day from the hotel we took the track north towards Loch Coire nam Mang. Our destination was Meall a' Bhuirich, the hill behind the Bens Beg and Mor. As it was the last day of the trip and we didn’t have to save the legs any more, we decided to detour and head for Ben Griam Beg first. Seeing it, with it’s misty morning hat on, as we rounded the loch, the pull proved too strong.

The walk round the south side of the two lochs to the base of Ben Griam Beg is a bit of a bash. I was tired before we even started the climb. Even Mrs T was finding it hard going today and she’s stronger than me. It had been a long week. Still up we went, plod, plod. It’s only about 200m gain until you reach the first of the stone structures. We were glad to get there. I don’t remember having a good look round on our last visit. We were in no rush today so decided to have a proper look this time.

I’ll put up a link to a plan of the enclosure complex below. If you go, it’s worth taking with you. The hillfort is big. - Ben Griam Beg - plan of enclosure complex

Just before you get to the first big wall at around 450m, there are a series of round stone structures and low walls. I found these the most interesting part of the complex. What were they for? Hut circles? The ground is so steep here, hard to believe they were homes. Aerial photos on OSmaps or Canmore show these off nicely. Next we crossed the first big stone wall. It’s about 500m long, protecting the south side of the hill. Big stones used for this one. Another 100m gain, passing more stone structures, and we reached the second wall. This is fainter but leads to a third much bigger inner wall that surrounds what could be described as the principle enclosure at the summit. There is a broken trigpoint at the top, 580m – making it the highest hillfort in Scotland.

It was a misty day and the cloud was down over the last 150m gain. I liked the peace it gave the top and enclosure. We weren’t here alone. Two lovely ptarmigan were walking the walls. Not sure I’ve seen them this low down before. A nice surprise.

We had our lunch by the trig. Apart from the mist, the weather wasn’t too bad. Little wind and just the odd shower passing through.

We headed down the east side and then south to visit Meall a' Bhuirich (nice hill) and then back to the hotel via Ben Griam Mor (the last climb was tough, my legs were done by this point).

It was a fantastic day out. Just us and the hills. The hillfort is a WOW and I was so happy to have got a second chance to visit. I hate saying an out of the way site is a must visit but this hillfort really is. It just happens to be a little bit in the middle of nowhere. There are train stations not to far away and the drive is easy. The walk up isn’t too bad, I was just tired that day. Probably not one for bad weather though.

The whole complex is massive. It must have taken many people to build. More like a hill-city than a hillfort. If you get a chance, it’s well worth the trip. My favourite hillfort, I think so.

Cnoc Molach, Badanloch Forest (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

<b>Cnoc Molach, Badanloch Forest</b>Posted by thelonious

Cnoc Molach, Badanloch Forest (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

29/06/2022 - I was a little grumpy at this one. I hate rushing sites but we'd sent longer than expected down the road at Kinbrace stone rows (quite right too as they're great). So it was a quick bash from the road to have a look. The way across is a bit hard work but we got there. Stones are tricky to see until you are almost upon them. The more you look, the more you find. Most are pretty buried. Very good location with hut circles and cairn nearby. Just wish I'd had more time. Nice site, well worth a visit. Our last stone row on a fine day out along the River Helmsdale.

Carn Richard (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Carn Richard</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Carn Richard</b>Posted by thelonious

Ach'na H-uai' (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Ach'na H-uai'</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ach'na H-uai'</b>Posted by thelonious

Kinbrace (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue) — Images

<b>Kinbrace</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Kinbrace</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Kinbrace</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Kinbrace</b>Posted by thelonious

Kinbrace (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue) — Fieldnotes

29/06/2022 - Cnoc Ach'na h-Uai' is just a little hill with not much gain but it’s got a hillside packed with prehistory goodies.

Good parking at NC 82244 32015 (old quarry) on the B871. It’s a single track road to get here but fine to drive as lots of passing places. After having our sandwiches in the car whilst waiting for the rain to pass, we headed up the hill in sunshine. We visited the trigpoint at the top first. Worth it for the view and lots of Great Sundews about which I don’t think I’ve seen before. Next we walked back down to try and find the stone rows. Proved easy enough. Huts circles and a cairn nearby. Also the stone rows are next to the old road. Got me thinking about just how old the road could be.

The stone rows are good. Plenty of stones still here. Fan-shaped multiple stone rows, maybe 80 stones in 10-11 rows. There’s a small cairn in the NNW corner. Really lovely location for this one. Great open views. Looking from the cairn through the middle terminal stone, my gaze seemed to lead straight to Ben Uarie (this hill seems to keep putting in an appearance). We spent quite a bit of time here just walking about and looking, it's an area that gets you wondering. I really like stone rows and this site is great.

After looking at the nearby cairn we were going to head back to the car but I could see Cairn Richard on the horizon and I’d seen Gladman’s photos on TMA so knew it was a good one, too good not to visit so off we went.

Strath of Kildonan (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

<b>Strath of Kildonan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Strath of Kildonan</b>Posted by thelonious

Strath of Kildonan (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

29/06/2022 - Nothing to see of this one now sadly. The stone rows are gone as road improvements have destroyed the site. Canmore does mention six stones remaining in 1981. There are a few near the bottom of the road widening that are a maybe.

Torrish Burn (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue) — Images

<b>Torrish Burn</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Torrish Burn</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Torrish Burn</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Torrish Burn</b>Posted by thelonious

Torrish Burn (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue) — Fieldnotes

29/06/2022 - There are five known stone row sites near the River Helmsdale. Six if you include the one at Loch Rimsdale. We were heading up the Strath to Garvault so decided to spend the day looking at stone rows on the way.

This first one is just a little higher up the hill than the cairn at Torrish Burn. Easy parking and access.

It's a bit different to the rest round here. A double stone row leading to a cairn/enclosure. It's an odd one. Quite a narrow space between the two rows. Not really functional. Worth a visit if you are passing.

Weather was a bit rubbish. Raining whilst we were there.

Torrish Burn (Kerbed Cairn) — Images

<b>Torrish Burn</b>Posted by thelonious

Caen Burn, Strath of Kildonan (Long Cairn) — Images

<b>Caen Burn, Strath of Kildonan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Caen Burn, Strath of Kildonan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Caen Burn, Strath of Kildonan</b>Posted by thelonious

Caen Burn, Strath of Kildonan (Long Cairn) — Fieldnotes

26/06/2022 - It was sunny and we had walked a bit the day before so decided to take it slow today and give the legs a rest. We strolled up the Strath from where we were staying in Helmsdale to have a look at the long cairns round Caen Burn.

First to Caen Burn North, the only one I remembered visiting back in 2010. It’s a good one with a fine view across the Caen Burn. Track cuts across its east end but I liked its position above a curved embankment in the burn. Next Caen Burn South, it’s the one to see if you only have a short time there. A fantastic long cairn still in good condition. It’s worth a little climb up the hill behind to look down on this. Just to get a feel for its place in the landscape. We then made the short walk to Caen Burn West. This one is pretty ruined but I still liked it. We sat down on the slope above and had our sandwiches. It was a lovely sunny day and a good place to while away a few hours. It was hard to leave and make the hour walk back to Helmsdale.

Great long cairns, this site and the whole of the Strath of Kildonan are a must visit.

Glen Loth (Standing Stones) — Images

<b>Glen Loth</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Glen Loth</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Glen Loth</b>Posted by thelonious

Glen Loth (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

25/06/2022 - Started and finished the day by these nice stones. I really liked the location of these two at the meeting of the glens, Sletdale and Loth. Good parking nearby.

The Craggan (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>The Craggan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>The Craggan</b>Posted by thelonious<b>The Craggan</b>Posted by thelonious

Ben Uarie (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Ben Uarie</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Ben Uarie</b>Posted by thelonious

Ben Uarie (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

25/06/2022 – Ben Uarie, I’d been here back in 2010. I remembered it as a good walk but just one of a few that trip. I hadn’t forgotten about it though as on a clear day you can see it from Bennachie in Aberdeenshire some 118km away. I love seeing the big hills to the north from lovely Bennachie. Always makes me want to go on a trip.

Some years after our trip, Gladman posted about a cairn here and reading his notes and seeing the photos made me see the top anew. I made up my mind to revisit the hill if the chance arose and look again.

Last time it was a bob up and down from the high point on the road through Glen Loth. This time we decided to make a loop of the tops round Glen Sletdale. Good parking where Glen Sletdale meets Glen Loth. Starting here had the added bonus that we didn’t have to drive too far up the Glen Loth road thankfully, the memories from last time still haunt me! As single track roads go it’s beautiful but one you drive praying nothing’s coming the other way. Still grass growing up the middle but a few sections have been resurfaced. Starting here also meant we could visit the two standing stones overlooking the river. I really liked these two and what a lovely spot. From here it’s a good plod up the hill to Beinn Dhorain and then over to Ben Uarie. Weather was sunny though a little windy. I was tired by the time we reached the trigpoint. Unlike last time, we had a good look at the top. As Gladman mentions, the OS 1:25k map has cairn marked in antiquarian typeface. There did look to be a footprint beneath the trig and wind shelter. I liked the look of it as a probable cairn. The view from the top is very good, we found a spot a bit out of the wind for a sit and bite to eat. I was really happy to have made the trip back to this one. The top is an interesting mystery worth visiting.

This top is not the only one marked with a cairn in antiquarian typeface on the map. Some 2.5km to the west was our next destination on our walk round the glen, the top called The Craggan. Easy enough walk across. The Craggan is a great looking lump. The last bit is a bit steep but the top is soon reached. I’ll post a few photos of the top. There is a modern cairn but also something larger underneath. Not really like the one on Ben Uarie. I just couldn’t make my mind up about this one.

We continued on for the rest of the day on a lovely walk. It’s worth a visit here, very quiet, great views and two tops with something going on, maybe, just maybe.

Rotten Bottom — Images

<b>Rotten Bottom</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Rotten Bottom</b>Posted by thelonious
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