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Clava Cairns, Culloden Moor

Ruin · Hidden Gem · Historic Site
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The Clava cairn is a type of Bronze Age circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of three cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, to the east of Inverness in Scotland. There are about 50 cairns of this type in an area round about Inverness. They fall into two sub-types, one typically consisting of a corbelled passage grave with a single burial chamber linked to the entrance by a short passage and covered with a cairn of stones, with the entrances oriented south west towards midwinter sunset. In the other sub-type an annular ring cairn encloses an apparently unroofed area with no formal means of access from the outside. In both sub-types a stone circle surrounds the whole tomb and a kerb often runs around the cairn. The heights of the standing stones vary in height so that the tallest fringe the entrance (oriented south west) and the shortest are directly opposite it.

Where Clava-type tombs have still contained burial remains, only one or two bodies appear to have been buried in each, and the lack of access to the second sub-type suggests that there was no intention of re-visiting the dead or communally adding future burials as had been the case with Neolithic cairn tombs.
Use our Culloden Moor driving holiday site to visit Clava Cairns on your trip to Culloden Moor, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Clava Cairns reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
700 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • I am an Outlander Fan so of course I had to make a stop at Clava Cairns for the obligatory picture trying to go through the stones to find Jamie Fraser. Alas, I did not succeed. There were additional....  more
    I am an Outlander Fan so of course I had to make a stop at Clava Cairns for the obligatory picture trying to go through the stones to find Jamie Fraser. Alas, I did not succeed. There were additional....  more »
  • A lovely place to visit even if you are not an Outlander fan. Lots of standing stones and some information plaques but nothing else which is as it should be. The atmosphere would be totally spoiled... 
    A lovely place to visit even if you are not an Outlander fan. Lots of standing stones and some information plaques but nothing else which is as it should be. The atmosphere would be totally spoiled...  more »
  • We called in here as it is not far from Culloden Battlefield. There is free parking and it is free to enter. There are some information boards, but in reality it is not known for certain what purpose....  more
    We called in here as it is not far from Culloden Battlefield. There is free parking and it is free to enter. There are some information boards, but in reality it is not known for certain what purpose....  more »
Google
  • Not too much going on just a pile of rocks.
  • Went at 18.30 and no-one else was there. What a wonderful experience, quiet calm and relaxing walk. Amazing to see the cairns which are 4000 years old. Highly recommended
  • Too many tourists in the car park now
  • Ancient site. Well worth a look. Probably the best stone circles, standing stones, and cairns in all of the world. Look for the cup ring carvings. There are at least four separate stones with these. A fine place. Make this a must see on your list but please don't remove any stones. They are cursed. You will suffer terrible bad luck if these are removed. No joke.
  • The level of access to ancient stone structures amazing and unlike many other places I've been that keep you fenced away from the stones. It is a wonderful site and well worth the visit.

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