What To Do in Inverness

Corrimony Chambered Cairn

Inverness IV63 6TW, UK

Corrimony Chambered Cairn

Built some 4,000 years ago, Corrimony Cairn is a passage grave of the Clava type dating from the 3rd Millenium BC.

Built by neolithic farmers, skilled in working stone, they were the first people to domesticate animals, till the land and clear the forests for farming, their society was cooperative.

Corrimony Chambered Cairn was built for collective burials, the beliefs of the builders remain unknown, it is believed these people existed from 3,500BC to 1,500Bc. Each group had their own collective tomb, built with the help of other groups in the area, with feasts and gifts being given to the helpers.

The astronomical alignment and orientation (the entrance passage is orientated towards the south west), Corrimony-cairn4.jpghas led people to suggest that the builders of Corrimony Chambered Cairn believed in the migration of the souls of the dead to the stars.

There is eveidence in some tombs that the bodies were prepared for the journey, with the bodies being dimembered, ceramic vessels shattered and animal bones indicate food offerings. Fires were then lit so the tomb acted as a crematorium.

Pieces of the original capstone, decorated with cup-mark designs, are still to be seen on top of the cairn. For a monument built four thousand years ago, Corrimony Chambered Cairnis remarkably well preserved, the best example in the region. Corrimony-cairn5.jpgIt was excavated in 1952, in the centre of the cairn there was only a dark stain visible evidence that any remains had deteriorated in the acid soil.

There are 12 standing stones surrounding Corrimony Cairn, is suspected that some of these may have been added since the building of the original cairn.

Open all year. Free. In Glen Urquhart, 8.5m West of Drumnadrochit off the A831, just over a mile off the main A831 Loch Ness - Glen Affric road up a signed minor road.  There is parking just before the cairn and information boards for both the cairn and the RSPB Corrimony Nature Reserve.  

Corrimony RSPB Nature Reserve. Set in stunning moorland and Caledonian forest, this beautiful reserve is a treasure trove for anyone who loves birds. In the spring time you can watch the black grouse courtship displays, there are also crested tits and Scottish crossbills, (the only UK bird that is exclusive to Britain). Open all year, and free entry - donations welcome. For details - Tel: 01463 715000 E-mail: nsro@rspb.org.uk

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