Destinations

4,000 year old standing stones and burial cairns!

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This is my third visit to the Scottish Highlands, but in my past visits I never had as much time as I wanted to explore properly. The first part of my time here will be traveling the North Coast 500 – the 516 mile route that begins and ends in Inverness. Before I head off, I wanted to get the camper organized and explore the area around Inverness.

I am camped at Culloden Moor Camping and Caravan Park situated, as the name suggests, on Culloden Moor. Just minutes up the road are the Clava Cairns. A cairn is man-made and comes from the Scottish Gaelic càrn. It means a stack or pile of stones. They were used in prehistoric times for a variety of purposes; for defense, ceremonies, route markers, and in this case, burial.

When I got to Clava Cairns early this morning, I had these 4,000 monuments all to myself. The gate isn’t locked – you simply walk in and wander through the stones.

Clava cairns
The 3rd set of standing stones around cairn #3

This site includes 3 separate cairns – each surrounded by a set of standing stones (scroll through the slider at the top of the page to see the cairns). Due to their close proximity to Inverness, I have read on some websites that the standing stones were the inspiration for Craig na Dun from the Outlander series, through which Claire was transported back in time. I’m not sure about that, but wandering through, touching, and breathing in 4,000 years of human history was magical enough for me.

I spent quite a while just strolling – I’m quite good at strolling – and a place like this deserves a good stroll. As the morning went on, several groups came and went. They didn’t stroll. That’s okay – I liked having it all to myself.

This is a place I would return to time and again. Imagine experiencing sunrise, sunset, or a full moon here. Pack a picnic, take a nap, or just meditate among a site built by our ancestors during the Bronze Age. Seriously, that’s hard to beat. If you want to know more about the cairns, here’s a good place to start https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/clava-cairns/history/

Until next time, stay safe y’all.

Amanda

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