The Corrimony Chambered Cairn was a pleasant surprise stop on our day tour from Inverness to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. It was just a few minutes from the main road and there was no admission fee.
The cairn is a round mound of rocks and boulders, surrounded by standing stones. Although the exact age of the cairn is not known, it is believed to be 4,000 or more years old and most likely built by Neolithic farmers. The cairn style is very similar to Clava Cairns and is very well-preserved and nearly all of it is intact.
The cairn faces south-west, having an astrological alignment, as does the placement of the surrounding stones. The exact uses of this passage grave are unknown. There is evidence of a few burials and cremations. Maybe only a few people were ever buried here, or perhaps evidence of others has eroded over time.
There is a low entrance to the cairn. At the end of the entrance, it opens up to a chamber. On top of the cairn, there is a slab which used to be the roof of the cairn. There are cup marks on the slab, similar to the ones found at Clava Cairns. Prehistoric art! The exact meaning of the cup marks is unknown. Some believe the cup marks are part of a ritual connected to the other side, while others believe they were created by the Gods. We don’t really know, but it is intriguing to wonder about the details of this spiritual passage and the people buried here.
The status of those sacrificed here, why they were chosen, and how many are also unknown. Visitors occasionally leave ashes or symbols of their loved ones, so you are asked to be respectful and not disturb anything you may find.
The easiest way to reach the cairn would be to inquire if it is a stop on a tour. It would be a nice drive if you are already renting a car. You can reach the cairn in about fifteen to twenty minutes from Loch Ness. It’s also a short drive from Inverness. Going independently and possibly being there alone, I imagine, would be an even deeper experience than being with a group.
The setting is rural and nestled in a glen, surrounded by some trees and a few coos. It was very peaceful.
I was really excited that we stopped at Corrimony Cairn. I enjoy a history mystery that leaves you wondering!