Corrimony Cairn
Corrimony Cairn

Corrimony Chambered Cairn is a superbly preserved Bronze Age passage grave in an idyllic rural location in Glen Urquhart. The burial mound is surrounded by a circle of 11 standing stones of varying height.

The edge of the mound is further defined by a stone kerb. The passage is still usable, and on the left side of the entrance passage is a stone bearing cup and ring marks.

Corrimony is of a type of monument known as a Clava passage grave, named after the Bronze Age cemetery at Clava Cairns, near Inverness. Clava graves usually have a large mound of small stones surrounded by larger boulders. A narrow passage leads straight into the heart of the mound to a small central chamber.

Looking into the passage
Looking into the passage

At Corrimony this chamber is still protected by its original cover slabs. When the burial chamber was investigated in 1953 marks were found suggesting there was a single, crouched burial, set beneath a cobbled floor. The cobbles are gone now, lost to a rough-and-ready Victorian excavation.

The passage is only 1 metre high, so you need to crawl or waddle like a duck to reach the burial chamber. The chamber is built with large boulders at the base, rising to drystone walls. The chamber roof was originally corbelled inwards, then covered by a single slab, over which the cairn stones were piled to create a mound.

A single large slab stands on the side of the entrance passage, and you can clearly see cup and ring marks carved on its surface. This large stone is thought to be the original capstone.

Looking at the 11 standing stones surrounding the cairn, there seems to have been space left for a 12th stone, but there is no indication that it was ever set in place. Two stones west of the passage entrance are not original; they were made from lintels taken from the passage roof. Thee is another cup-marked stone lying flat on one side of the mound.

Visiting

It does take some determination to reach Corrimony, but its worth it. The cairn is well-signposted off the A831 just south of Cannich. There is a small parking area about 100 yards from the site. The location is wonderful, and the site is very well preserved. There is a small information panel, though frankly I could have wished for more useful information on the history of the site.

Passage to the burial chamber
Passage to the burial chamber
Cup and ring marked stone
Cup and ring marked carvings
The central chamber
The central chamber