Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Loch of Yarrows, cairn 550m ENE of South Yarrows

A Scheduled Monument in Wick and East Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.3733 / 58°22'23"N

Longitude: -3.1775 / 3°10'39"W

OS Eastings: 331222

OS Northings: 943362

OS Grid: ND312433

Mapcode National: GBR L6JL.M4G

Mapcode Global: WH6DT.5S4V

Entry Name: Loch of Yarrows, cairn 550m ENE of South Yarrows

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8520

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Wick

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wick and East Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument comprises the remains of a burial cairn dating from the Neolithic or Bronze Age.

The cairn lies at approximately 100m OD on a W-facing hill slope close to Loch of Yarrows. Unlike most of the prehistoric ritual monuments clustered around the loch, this cairn is situated in a low-lying position where it cannot be seen easily from the other sites. The cairn measures approximately 8.5m in diameter and stands up to 0.6m high.

The monument was first recorded by the antiquarian J Anderson in 1870 as one of three "small cairns with central cists, arranged in a line at a short distance from each other. These were all opened long ago by idlers out of mere curiosity and all contained skeletons." A trench, which runs through the centre of the monument from E-W, is the probable work of these "idlers".

The area to be scheduled is circular, measuring 30m in diameter, to include the cairn and an area around it where evidence relating to its construction and use may be expected to survive, as shown in red on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved example of a prehistoric burial cairn. Despite antiquarian disturbance, the cairns have the potential, through excavation and analysis, to provide information on prehistoric ritual and funerary practices, and contemporary material culture and environment. The relationship between the cairn and the large number of other prehistoric ritual sites in the vicinity further enhances the importance of this monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as ND 34 SW 48.


Anderson, J. (1870) 'On the horned cairns of Caithness, their structural arrangement, contents of chambers, &c', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, Vol. 7, 502.

RCAHMS (1911) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the country of Caithness, London, 175, No. 549.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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