Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Balnabodach, cairns 400m north east of

A Scheduled Monument in Highland, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.7231 / 56°43'23"N

Longitude: -3.9243 / 3°55'27"W

OS Eastings: 282339

OS Northings: 760700

OS Grid: NN823607

Mapcode National: GBR JBPY.F42

Mapcode Global: WH4L9.P8HV

Entry Name: Balnabodach, cairns 400m NE of

Scheduled Date: 25 August 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7720

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (type uncertain)

Location: Blair Atholl

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Highland

Traditional County: Perthshire


The monument comprises five large cairns of prehistoric date, and a single small cairn, visible as a series of stony and grass-covered mounds.

The monument lies in an area of rough pasture set high above Strath Tummel around 370m OD. It consists of five substantial cairns arranged in a slightly curving line running WNW-ESE. The first, at the WNW end of the group, is a level platform approximately 12m in diameter and about 0.4m high. The second, some 25m to the ESE, is about 0.3m high with a diameter of about 17m. The third, some 20m further ESE, has a diameter of approximately 16m and stands about 0.3m high.

The fourth cairn in the line is by far the largest, comprising a large bare heap of stones in excess of 2m high, surrounded by a turf-covered stony bank about 3m wide and some 0.4m high. Its overall diameter is approximately 25m. The fifth cairn, at the far ESE of the group, is flat-topped, about 0.3m high, and has a diameter of about 8m. A small cairn some 3m in diameter, close to the NW of the largest of the group, may also be a prehistoric funerary monument, although it is clearly different in scale from the others.

Together the cairns represent a linear cemetery dating to the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Each may be expected to contain evidence for burials and related ritual activity, as well as information relating to the prehistoric environment.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the cairns and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive. It is an elongated and distorted rectangle in shape, measuring 180m from its easternmost point to its westernmost point and 55m from its north side to its south side, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to our understanding of prehistoric settlement and ritual practices. It is of particular interest as one of a small but important class of linear cairn cemeteries, the location and inter-relationship of which may provide particularly important evidence about the purpose and sequence of cairn-building.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NN 86 SW 7.


Watson, W. J. (1915) 'Circular forts in Lorn and north Perthshire; with a note on the excavation of one at Borenich, Loch Tummel', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, Vol. 49, 25.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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