Clava Cairns

 

The next stop was to Clava Cairns.

Clava Cairns come in two types, and both are represented in the group of three you find in the truly wonderful wooded setting at Balnuaran. There are larger prehistoric sites in Scotland, and there are much better known ones: but we have yet to come across one with such variety and interest in such a beautiful setting.

The North East and South West Cairns are knows as passage graves. Here the inner chamber remains linked to the outside world by a passage. Both are no more than a metre or so in height, but when originally constructed the cairns are likely to have been around 3m or 10ft in height.

The North East Passage Grave (the one nearest the car park) is interesting in having a large number of “cup” marks and some “ring” marks inscribed on one of the kerb stones. Both of the passage graves have a surrounding circle of widely spaced standing stones: though sadly the stone circle surrounding the South West Passage Grave has a road going through it, leaving one stone marooned on the far side of the road and another forming part of the fence.

The central cairn at Balnuaran is of the second type of Clava Cairn, a ring cairn. This differs from the other two in having no passageway linking the central camber with the outside. Like the others it is surrounded by a ring of standing stones, nine in this case, of which some have been broken. One unusual feature is the way that the central cairn is linked to three of its enclosing circle of standing stones by lines of turf covered stones. No-one knows their purpose, and it might well be possible that they were added very much later than the date of construction of the cairns. Another later addition is likely to have been the much smaller ring of kerb stones on the north east side of the site not far from the central cairn.

Source – Undiscovered Scotland

 

Of course Jamie and Claire made an appearance.

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We then went back later in the day to see the cairns at sunset.

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