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Loch Borralan Chambered Cairn

The Loch Borralan East Cairn is one of a very dense population of Neolithic chambered cairns in the area around Lyne and Ledbeg, in the south of Assynt. It is one of 4 situated in close proximity to one another on the shore of Loch Borralan, overlooking the loch and with spectacular views of Suilven to the west. 


Monumental Chambered Cairns were built by the first farming communities in Scotland. They are often situated in spectacular locations, with good views over nearby valley floors: in Assynt, as in other areas, they are often situated on the margins of good pasture and upland moor. These massive stone structures housed the remains of the ancestors of nearby pastoral farmers and were probably the focus of various kinds of family ceremonies at certain times of the year. 


Recent excavation and consolidation work revealed that the cairn is built of local orange-pink volcanic syenite with a contrasting entrance portal of creamy-white schist and seems to have gone out of use in about 3400BC after perhaps a few centuries of use. Without the later covering of peat which now disguises it, the cairn would have been a spectacular feature on the hillside with its contrasting stone colours and a stepped profile.

The larger stones of the main chamber and the terrace on which the cairn was built all show signs of being worked to shape with quartzite hammer stones. The Borralan East cairn is on a steep hillside, but only a short distance from the road and the chamber is accessible where the corbelled roof has collapsed.

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