A Journey through Time

Explore the many stone circles and prehistoric sites in our area!

Stone Circles have been getting a lot of attention recently thanks to “Outlander”, so this made me quite curious about the pre-historic sites and stone circles we have in our area – and there are more of them than I ever expected!

The most famous pre-historic site in our area is probably Clava Cairns near Culloden Battlefield. Clava Cairns are a well-preserved Bronze Age cemetery with burial cairns surrounded by standing stones. Some of the cairns have passage ways you can crawl into – don’t worry, there are no human remains left in the cairns these days! But you can still see the round marks left by our ancestors on the stones to decorate them. The best time to visit the site is at sunrise or sunset – so peaceful, even if you don’t quite step back in time!

Another chambered cairn of a similar type can be found at Corrimony, a passage grave surrounded by 11 standing stones in Glenurquhart near Drumnadrochit. This cairn was built around 4,000 years ago and is well worth a visit, as it’s situated in the beautiful RSPB nature reserve surrounded by moorland and Caledonian forest.

So – these are the two most famous cairns and standing stones in our area, but once I started looking I found that there are many more!

Near the village of Farr are the Gask cairn and standing stone, dating from the same period as Corrimony and Clava. This is a ring cairn rather than chambered cairn – these stone circles are said to be aligned to face the mid-winter sun at solstice…

But this is not the only stone circle in Farr – many years ago as a student I stayed in “digs” in a local guesthouse appropriately called “Stonehenge House”, where the unique feature was a small stone circle and cairn in the garden! The property was recently sold…maybe not what you would expect when you read about “period features” in the property pages!

If you travel along the South Side of Loch Ness, look out for the Aldourie standing stones just before you get to Dores. Unfortunately these ancient sites have not always been protected and in times gone by some of the stones were used to build houses and dykes, but some stones remain on the grounds of Aldourie estate.

Have you come across any more hidden cairns or stone circles around Loch Ness or Inverness? Let us know!

Even though I didn’t literally go back in time, I’ve discovered quite a lot about local history on my travels and would highly recommend visiting one or more of these fascinating sites!

If you need a bit of inspiration for exploring our area, check out the “Explore” and "Attractions" sections of our website!

Clava Cairns