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Cathair Fhionn

Battle Site (Period Unknown), Cairnfield (Prehistoric)

Site Name Cathair Fhionn

Classification Battle Site (Period Unknown), Cairnfield (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 13278

Site Number NH63SW 44

NGR NH 6159 3364

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Dores
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH63SW 44 6159 3364.

(NH 6159 3364) Cathair Fhionn (NR)

(Centred NH 617 337) Cairns (NR)

'Cathair Fhionn' signifies 'Fingal's Chair' and is applied to a portion of a rocky ridge consisting of flat slabs which was, until shortly before 1871, in form of an armchair, where it is supposed Fingal rested after his battle with Ashie, the son of the Norwegian king. There are several heaps of stones or cairns in the immediate vicinity; they are supposed to mark the burying place of those killed in the battle.

There are six small cairns, 10' - 12' in diameter, very much scattered. Two have been hollowed in the centre. (ISSFC 1898)

Name Book 1871; A A Woodham 1963; ISSFC 1898.

All that can be seen at the published position of Cathair Fhionn is a stone clearance heap, one of several previously published as "cairns", which, together with others, occur in the area centred NH 615 336. They are probably of Iron Age period, but no huts or cultivation plots are discernible.

The name "Cathair Fhionn" and tradition of a battle are still known locally.

Visited by OS (N K B) 6 Feburary 1970.


Field Visit (19 August 1943)

Cairns etc, SW of Loch Ashie.

On the crest of the same ridge, SSW of the dun is a line of 9 small cairns, mostly about 20’ in diameter. But No.6 (from the N) at the highest point of the ridge is at least 25’ across. No 9 about 3/10 mile WNW of West Town farmhouse is also about 24-26ft in diameter. It is situated near the centre of a ring framed by a peat-covered bank interrupted by a gap at the ENE and defined externally by slabs which measures 42’ to 45’ in overall diameter. This ring certainly resembles a typical hut-circle and the small cairn seems to have been heaped within it and to be posterior to its use. A perfectly distinct hut-circle measuring 31’ overall is visible on a strip of level ground below the crest of the ridge E of cairn 9. The E flank of the ridge is traversed by several very ruinous enclosure baulks of stones, the last named hut-circle itself standing within an irregularly rectangular enclosure thus bounded. In cairn 2 there are traces of a built cist.

[NH63SW 32 and NH63SW 39]

On the next ridge to the NW and WNW of the fort [NH63SW 1] are numerous small cairns 12’—15’ in diameter, again on the E flank of the ridge near the 800’ contour. These seem to have been disturbed and dug into.

[NH63SW 23 and NH63SW 28 ?]

Further to the NW there is another group of similar small cairns on the small ridge on the E flank of the ridge that is followed by the high road from Inverfarigaig to Inverness, as noted on the OS map.

[NH63SW 44?]

Visited by RCAHMS (AG) 19 August 1943

Map ref: xix (‘Cairns’)


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