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Scotsburn Wood

Cairn (Prehistoric)

Site Name Scotsburn Wood

Classification Cairn (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Cairn F; Scotsburn Wood 4

Canmore ID 14577

Site Number NH77NW 5

NGR NH 7220 7669

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Logie Easter
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NH77NW 5 centred 726 766.

A: (NH 7304 7644) Cairn (NR) [see NH77NW 65]

B: (NH 7300 7649) Cairn (NR) [see NH77NW 66]

C: (NH 7282 7673) Cairn (NR) [see NH77NW 64]

D: (NH 7260 7687) Cairn (NR) [see NH77NW 62]

E: (NH 7218 7679) Cairn (NR) [see NH77NW 63]

F: (NH 7220 7669) Site of Cairn (NR)

OS 6" map, Ross-shire, 2nd ed., (1907)

Carn nam Marbh (Dead Men's Cairn): This cairn and those in Scotsburn Wood are almost certain to mark the site of a battle. Neighbouring names are: 'Lochan a' Chlaidheimh' - Sword Lochlet and 'Bearnas a' Chalaidheimh' - Sword Cleft.

W J Watson 1904.

'. . . traditionally said to indicate an ancient battle between some Scottish forces and the Danes.'

Name Book 1873.

In the area centred NH 7261 7667 on the S-facing slopes of Beinn an Lochain are, or have been, six cairns in the positions given. All are in an area that has been fairly recently reafforested.

Cairn A [NH77NW 65] is a heather-covered mound 11.0m in diameter with a maximum height of 2.0m on the W. It has been ploughed and planted with young firs but this has at least served to show the stony content of the mound.

There are no remains of cairn B.

Cairn C [NH77NW 64] is 13.0m N-S and has a fairly level top now of bare stone. The perimenter is covered (heather) except on the S side where the cairn is now skirted by a forestry road. The greatest height of the cairn is 1.0m.

Cairn D [NH77NW 62] is 14.0m in diameter and has a maximum height of 1.2m It consists of bare stone and just W of its centre a large slab stands on edge which together with a few other large stones nearby may form or have formed part of a chamber or cist. Any such feature is at present, however, obscured by the abundance of smaller rubble.

Cairn E has been much mutilated by ploughing and trees planting. It appears to have been 16.0m in diameter and is now generally level with the ground. In the centre of the cairn, four large slabs, one of which has fallen, form the NW end of a chamber 5.5m long and 3.0m wide, aligned NW-SE. The largest of these stones is set across the chamber, dividing it into two compartments. A passage 0.8m wide and 2.0m long can be discerned at the SE end marked by four stones, two set on each side. There are no remains of cairn F.

No further information concerning the battle tradition.

Visited by OS (R D L) 17 May 1963.

Cairn "D" (NH 7260 7687) [NH77NW 62] lies in the Forestry plantation, 550' above sea level on a S-facing hillside. It has been c.50' in diameter and the remains are 3' to 4' high.

Many of the orthostats of a chamber or passage can be identified. their tops, generally, level with the remains of the cairn. The entrance has been from the WNW c.13' within the present edge of the cairn. The passage is 10'6" long and the chamber entrance 1'9" wide, The chamber, c.14'6" long, has two compartments divided by a pair of transverse slabs with an entry between them.

Cairn "E" (NH 7218 7679) is in the Forestry plantation a little under 600' above sea level. The cairn material had been almost completely removed before the remains were ploughed through and planted. The diameter seems to have been c.60'.

Most of the large stones which formed the chamber walls survive. The entrance was from the ESE. A pair of split slabs c.10' within the apparent edge of the cairn form the entrance to a short passage 4'6" long which is divided from the chamber by a pair of transverse stones set 2'4" apart.

The chamber was c.15' long, divided into two compartments by a pair of low massive stones. The lintel which had rested on these stones has fallen to the W. One stone remains on the S side of the outer compartment. The inner compartment, 6'6" wide, is defined by three stones, the back-slab having recently fallen forward.

A S Henshall 1972.

Cairn A: Not located.

Cairn B: No trace.

Cairn C: 15.5m in diameter and 1.2m high, truncated in the S by a forestry road. The centre has been partially removed but there is no trace of a chamber.

"D", sub-circular, measuring c.15.5m NW-SE by c.14.0m transversely, and 1.2m high. The dug-out centre shows one or two slabs of an Orkney-Cromarty chamber, entered from the SE, which is mainly obscured by debris.

"E" has probably measured about 15.0m in diameter, but most the cairn has been removed, leaving exposed the orthostats of an Orkney-Cromarty chamber entered from the SE. Projecting NW from each end of the back slab are two more slabs on edge which appear to be the remains of a secondary chamber.

Cairn F: no trace.

Re-surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (J S) and (A A) 14 March 1973.

[Location indicated as NH 7219 7679]. Scheduled as Scotsburn Wood, chambered cairn.

[Location indicated as NH 7289 7676]. Scheduled as Scotsburn Wood, cairn.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling documents dated 14 February 2002.


Note (1979)

Scotsburn Wood 4 NH 722 766 NH77NW 5(F)

This cairn was destroyed before 1904.


(OS 6-inch map, Ross and Cromarty, 2nd edition, 1907, sheet liv)


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