Ancient Monuments

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Loch of Yarrows, two cairns 700m ENE of South Yarrows

A Scheduled Monument in Wick and East Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.373 / 58°22'22"N

Longitude: -3.1748 / 3°10'29"W

OS Eastings: 331381

OS Northings: 943332

OS Grid: ND313433

Mapcode National: GBR L6JL.ND8

Mapcode Global: WH6DT.6TG0

Entry Name: Loch of Yarrows, two cairns 700m ENE of South Yarrows

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8521

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 two cairns, ritual and funerary monuments dating from the Neolithic or Bronze Age.

The cairns lie at approximately 120m OD on a N-facing hillslope overlooking Loch of Yarrows. The W cairn is approximately 9m in diameter and stands up to 1.5m high. The edge of a long, thin slab protrudes from the cairn material indicating the probable presence of a central burial cist.

Approximately 20m to the E, the second cairn stands 1m high and measures roughly 10m in diameter. These burial mounds represent two of three sites described by the antiquarian J Anderson in 1870 as "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."

The area to be scheduled is oblong in shape, measuring a maximum of 60m E-W by 30m N-S, to include the remains described above, and an area around and between them where evidence relating to their 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 cemetery. Despite antiquarian excavation, it has the potential, through excavation and analysis, to provide information on prehistoric ritual and funerary practices, and contemporary material culture and environment. The presence of a 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 46 and 47.


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

Davidson, J. L. and Henshall, A. S. (1991) The chambered cairns of Caithness: an inventory of the structures and their contents, Edinburgh, 170.

Mercer, R. J. (1985) Archaeological field survey in northern Scotland: volume III: 1982-3, University of Edinburgh, Department of Archaeology, Occasional Paper No. 11 Edinburgh, 22, 30, 222, Fig. 8.

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 county of Caithness, London, 175, No. 547.

Stuart, J. (1870) 'Report to the committee of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, appointed to arrange for the application of a fund left by the late Mr A Henry Rhind, for excavating early remains', Pro Soc Antiq Scot, Vol. 7, 293.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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