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Skye, Carn Liath, Kensaleyre

Chambered Cairn (Neolithic), Short Cist (Bronze Age)

Site Name Skye, Carn Liath, Kensaleyre

Classification Chambered Cairn (Neolithic), Short Cist (Bronze Age)

Canmore ID 11320

Site Number NG45SW 1

NGR NG 4201 5138

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Snizort
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes ( - 1971)

NG45SW 1 4201 5138.

(NG 4201 5138) Carn Liath (NR).

OS 6"map, (1968)

Carn Liath, a chambered cairn of uncertain type, about 80' in diameter with sides rising steeply to a height of about 18'. It is composed of relatively small water-worn stones, partly turf-covered, but there has been a little robbing and disturbance, especially at the base on the east side, for the ruined wall which runs from the cairn, but the interference appears to be superficial. On the SSW side of the cairn about 6' within the apparent edge a large stone is partly exposed set on its long side and pointing towards the centre of the cairn. This, together with a large horizontal slab set at right angles to it, may be part of the entrance to a passage. To the west of the upright stone is another backed by cairn material which has the appearance of a peristalith though no other stones of such a setting can be seen. A short cist was formerly exposed about half-way up the NE side of the cairn, it having been uncovered about 1907 by men searching for a stone suitable for a lintel. It contained human bones. Only a few displaced flattish stones now mark the place.

(RCAHMS 1928; A S Henshall 1972).

A chambered cairn as described by Henshall.

Revised at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (R L) 16 September 1971.


Field Visit (1876 - 1878)

'This name applies to a circular cairn of stone about 22 yards in diameter by about 15 feet high it is situated at the head of Loch Eyre and the northern Bank of the River Haultin. Meaning grey cairn'.

[Annotated in red: 'Supposed to contain the bones of the rival clans who fought here in 1539'].

Ordnance Survey Name Book, Inverness-shire (Skye) vol. 7., p.137, 1876-8.

Field Visit (20 May 1914)

Carn Liath, Kensaleyre.

The fine cairn known as Carn Liath is situated on the right bank of the River Haultin, less than ½ mile before it falls into Loch Eyre and about 400 yards south-south-west of the parish church of Snizort, at Kensaleyre, at an elevation of barely 25 feet above the high-water mark. Entirely composed of stones, of which few exceed 1 foot in length and breadth, it is circular in shape and measures some 80 feet in diameter and 18 feet in height. It is probably a chambered cairn. (Fig. 237.)

The surface of the cairn has been disturbed in places in the search for large stones for building, but the main body of the structure seems to be intact. About half-way up the cairn, on the north-east side, is a short cist formed of four slabs, the mouth for the greater part covered by a large stone. This grave, which lies almost north-west and south-east, is 2 feet 9 inches in length, 1 foot 7 inches in breadth, and 1 foot 10 inches in depth; the floor appears to have been covered with broken stones of small size, and the slab on the south-eastern side of the chamber barely reached the floor level. The grave was exposed about 1907 by some men looking for a large stone for a lintel. On noticing the human bones which it contained they desisted from interfering further with the structure, and since then the cairn has not been disturbed. The bones have now disappeared.

RCAHMS 1928, visited 20 May 1914.

OS map: Skye xvii.


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