Skail Chambered Cairn, Strathnaver
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Did St Maelrubha die here in AD 722?
The cairn is surrounded by a low earthwork, which formed the original kerb to the burial mound. There has never been a proper archaeological excavation at Skail, so we aren't sutre how many people might have been buried here, whether they were buried with grave goods, or exactly when the cairn was used.
Skail cairn is interesting as much for the tales that surround the site as for its historic value. Accoording to local legend, an 8th century Christian holy man called Maol Ruadh, or The Red Priest, made his dwelling here. According to the story, the Red Priest was killed at the entrance to the cairn by a band of Viking raiders. His body was carried to a burial ground 1/2 mile away to the north, and the site of his grave marked by a stone carved with the sign of a cross. You can still see The Red Priest's Stone, inscribed with the shape of a cross, in the old burial ground.
There is no parking at the site. You have to park in a signposted layby opposite the trail to the Rdd Priest's Stone, about 1/2 mile north along the B871. From there, simply walk along the road, past several houses, to a wooded area where you can clearly see a stile giving access to a boardwalk which leads over marshy ground to the chambered cairn. There is an information panel at the end of the boardwalk You can access the cairn easily, and walk into the burial chambers. This is a very atmospheric site; one of the most picturesque cairns I've visited, with the trees adding a sense of age and mystery to the site.
About Skail Chambered Cairn
Address: Skail, Sutherland, Scotland
Attraction Type: Prehistoric Site
Location: On the B871 at Skail. Parking in a signed layby 1/4 mile north, then walk along the road to a stile and boardwalk to the cairn.
Website: Skail Chambered Cairn
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Red Priest's Stone - 0.2 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Achanlochy Clearance Village - 7.2 miles (Museum)
Coille na Borgie Chambered Cairns - 7.5 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Achcoillenaborgie Broch - 7.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Strathnaver Museum - 9.5 miles (Museum)
Dun Dornaigil Broch - 15.9 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Cnoc Freiceadain Long Cairns - 21.9 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Smoo Cave - 22.1 miles (Countryside)
Nearest Accommodation to Skail Chambered Cairn:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Skail Chambered Cairn. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Tourist Information Centre
by Lairg, Sutherland
Highlands and Islands
Tel: 01971 511 368