Celebrate the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

Posted on Sunday 04 September 2016 @ 18:58  •  Back to main blog

To celebrate the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology we’d like to invite you to:-

Step back 4000 years in the rich landscapes of the South Loch Ness

Cairns are ceremonial and burial monuments dating from around 2000BC. The Clava type cairns are found roughly centred on Inverness and spread up the river valleys in an area of about 30-40 miles radius.

Cairns are ceremonial and burial monuments dating from around 2000BC

Explore these fascinating monuments yourself and visit the Clava Cairns, Corrimony, and Tordarroch. Complete your tour at the Gask cairn where you can even stay in a beautiful converted farm steading at Gask House Farm Cottages and simply stroll up the field to the investigate the cairn and its magnificent standing stone.

As a self drive tour why not start at:-

Clava Cairns

These remarkable series of cairns situated close to Culloden Battlefield, a few miles east of Inverness, are one of the finest prehistoric monuments in the Highlands and occupy a beautiful wooded site.

Clava Cairns prehistoric monuments near Culloden

Then move onto:-


Found between Drumnadrochit and Cannich this Clava-type passage grave was excavated by Professor Piggot, during the summer of 1952. His excavation has now been filled in.

Before excavation the cairn measured about 60' in diameter, and 8' in height, and was composed, for the most part, of water-worn stones. A large, flat, cup-marked stone, now thought to have been the cap-stone of the chamber lay on top.

Excavation revealed traces of a crouched inhumation burial beneath the flagged floor of the chamber. There were no grave-goods.

Of the 11 stones forming the outer ring round the cairn 4 are modern additions and 2 have been reset in recent times. The stones range from 5' -9' in height. An area of cobbling,apparently an original feature, was revealed between two of the stones on the N.W. One of the stones on the N.W. is said to bear cup-marks on its outer-facing side, but these are now unconvincing.

The only artifact found during excavation, was a bone pin, calcined and eroded, which is now in Nat. Mus. Ants. Scot (EO 956)

NH 38300 30300


Found just off the Dunlichity road south west of Inverness Tordarroch is a much damaged Clava Ringcairn with a c.20m diameter external kerb of contiguous stones, the tallest being 1.5m high. A large now prostate slab of this kerb lying to the south-west has cupmarks on its inner face. The interior setting has been removed. The stone circle is 6.7-8.5m beyond the outer kerb. A wall built in the late 19th century crosses the site to the south-west.

Map Ref: NH68013349


A stone’s throw from Tordarroch is the Gask Chambered Cairn & Circle. One of the largest surviving Clava type cairns. A 3m by 3m slab only 20cms in depth defines the SW entrance.

The ring-cairn is situated in undulating agricultural land above the west side of the valley, on a slight rise. The cairn is the largest of the Clava group, having a diameter of 88 feet. The kerb is almost complete though many of the stones have fallen outwards from their original positions. The largest stones are set on the south-west arc, varying between 4 feet 6 inches and 2 feet 9 inches high. Some of these have fallen but there is still an impressive length of kerbing of massive and closely set boulders towards the south side. The stones decrease in size towards the north-east and many of them only just project through the turf. Inside the kerb there remains 2 or 3 feet of cairn material mixed with earth, much disturbed and turf-covered. Through this there project two contiguous flat slabs which appear to be part of the east side of the inner circular setting. They are 27 feet from the outside of the kerb, so if the central area was concentric its diameter would be about 34 feet. Another stone which appears to be earthfast can be seen on the south but only 20 feet inside the kerb. Three upright stones belonging to a circle of monoliths survive. The dominating feature of the site is a thin flat slab standing on the west-south-west 17 feet from the kerb and opposite the largest stones. It is 11 feet in height, 9 feet 9 inches in width and only 9 inches thick. Unlike this stone the other two monoliths on the east side are irregular boulders set on end, 3 feet and 5 feet high, and set 11 feet and 13 feet from the line of the kerb. On the south east side three fallen slabs, the longest 7 feet 6 inches, are spaced evenly between the upright stones and apparently lie where they have fallen, as also a slab on the north-west side. Part of an eighth monolith lies on the north-east and another large stone 6 feet long bearing three cupmarks

Map Ref: NH6794435860

Stay at Gask House Farm Cottages and stroll up to the cairn whilst your there. Great place to celebrate the midsummer solstice.

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