Isle of Albion
Three surviving Bronze Age cairns near Culloden.
Photographed: Saturday 27th April 2013
Other Names: Balnuaran of Clava
Site rating:  

Clava Cairns is a Bronze Age burial site dating back to around 2000BC. The site was subsequently reused around 1000BC when a second phase of burials took place within the existing cairns.

The monument consists of three surviving cairns, of which two (those at either end of the row) are passage graves (a central chamber linked to the outside world by a passage) while the third is a chambered cairn (an enclosed chamber with no connecting passage to the outside world). Each of the cairns is circled by a ring of standing stones.

Proximity to the Culloden battlefield makes this site a relatively popular tourist destination. In recent years, I understand its reputation as an inspiration for the stone circle in the Outlander series has also created an influx of visitors. I visited before Outlander had aired and outside of the main tourist season, and although I saw a few people drift through, the site was relatively peaceful.

Clava Cairns is pleasantly located down a series of back roads, not far from the impressive Clava railway viaduct. It's not a stunning site, but I found it evocative and rewarding to visit.