Kilmartin Glen Cairns
|[View north along the linear cairns from Nether Largie Mid Cairn]|
If you're only ever going to visit one Neolithic and Bronze Age site in mainland Scotland, it should be Kilmartin Glen. Few places in the world boast such a dense concentration of prehistoric sites, liberally scattered along the valley between Kilmartin village towards the head of the valley and Cairnbaan near its foot. Central to the attractions are several huge burial cairns, built between 3,500 and 5,000 years ago but dominating the landscape even today. 5 of the cairns lie in a very deliberate chain extending down the glen from Kilmartin; these are grouped together below under "Linear Cairns" and can all be explored on a straightforward half-day walk from the village - by far the best way to visit them as there's limited parking nearby each one. The other mentioned here (though there are others too) is an outlier, close to the main road and a little further south.
|[Sliding open the access hatch to the burial chamber at Nether Largie North Cairn]|
Linear Cairns (from north to south)
Name: Glebe Cairn ★★☆☆☆
Description: Northernmost of the Kilmartin burial cairns, overlooked by the museum.
Location: G.R.: NR 833989 ///detective.enter.socket
Name: Nether Largie North Cairn ★★★☆☆
Description: Second of the linear cairns, with the interior burial chamber accessed by a sliding door.
Location: G.R. NR 831985 ///caps.horizons.riskiest
Name: Nether Largie Mid Cairn ★★☆☆☆
Description: Middle of the linear cairns.
Location: G.R.: NR 830983 ///parks.published.walks
Name: Nether Largie South Cairn ★★☆☆☆
Description: Probably the oldest of the cairns, constructed over 5,000 years ago.
Location: G.R.: NR 829979 ///loans.replying.magic
Name: Ri Cruin Cairn ★★☆☆☆
Description: Southernmost of the linear cairns, though damaged during the 1700's and 1800's.
Location: G.R.: NR 825971 ///sundial.plenty.tones
Anything else? If you're not walking from Kilmartin village, there's limited parking on the minor road past Ri Cruin House at G.R.: NR 826973 ///kilts.sunbeam.unspoiled. From here it's a 5-min walk on a clear path.
|[Ri Cruin Cairn]|
And the outlier...
Name: Dunchraigaig Cairn ★★☆☆☆
Description: 4,000-year-old cairn standing apart from the linear chain: the remains of up to 10 people were found in one of the cists during excavations.
Location: A816 a mile south of Kilmartin, G.R.: NR 833968 ///canoe.wool.residual
Anything else? Parking directly opposite on the A816. While you're here, it's only a few minutes' walk to the Baluachraig Rock Art.
|[Main chamber at Nether Largie South Cairn]|