Ancient Monuments

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Skelpick, long cairn 350m north east of

A Scheduled Monument in North, West and Central Sutherland, Highland

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Latitude: 58.48 / 58°28'48"N

Longitude: -4.1924 / 4°11'32"W

OS Eastings: 272256

OS Northings: 956732

OS Grid: NC722567

Mapcode National: GBR J609.Y1T

Mapcode Global: WH49N.K3TY

Entry Name: Skelpick, long cairn 350m NE of

Scheduled Date: 20 December 1934

Last Amended: 8 March 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM1815

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: chambered cairn

Location: Farr

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: North, West and Central Sutherland

Traditional County: Sutherland


The monument comprises an Orkney-Cromarty type chambered long cairn of Neolithic date. The monument is situated on a low terrace at around 32m OD, in rough grassland 70m E of the Skelpick Burn. It is patchily covered by heather. The monument was first scheduled in 1934, but an inadequate area was included to protect all the archaeological remains. The present scheduling rectifies this.

The monument is approximately 71m at its longest, running NNW-SSE, and is 20m at its widest. The edges of the cairn are indistinct, confused by tumbled stone and covered with heather and turf. The monument is horned at either end, the northern horns the larger and framing the entrance to a bipartite polygonal chamber. The interior structure is constructed using large stone orthostats and roofed with dry-stone corbelling, consisting of a brief passage leading to a small antechamber, approximately 3m E-W and 2.5m N-S, and then into a main chamber, approximately 3.5m E-W and 4m N-S. The passage is built with long, prone slabs up to 2.5m long and is roofed with a substantial lintel stone. A further large lintel stone divides the two chamber compartments, which is significantly higher than the height of the passage at around 1.5m high. To the SE of the cairn is a small sub-rectangular enclosure, probably built from the cairn material.

The area now to be scheduled is irregular on plan, measuring a maximum of 100m SE-NW by 40m transversely, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance as a Neolithic chambered long cairn of Orkney-Cromarty type. Although one of the two chamber compartments was excavated by Horseburgh in 1867, it maintains considerable potential to provide a valuable insight into the funerary and ritual practices of this period. It is a particularly striking example of its kind.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The cairn is recorded by RCAHMS as NC75NW 7.


Close-Brooks J 1995, THE HIGHLANDS, EXPLORING SCOTLAND'S HERITAGE SERIES (2nd ed), A Ritchie (ed.), Edinburgh, 31, 164.

Henshall A S 1963, CHAMBERED TOMBS OF SCOTLAND, Edinburgh, Vol. 1, 329.

Henshall A S and Ritchie J N G 1995, THE CHAMBERED CAIRNS OF SUTHERLAND, Edinburgh, 28-30.

Horseburgh J 1870, 'Notes on cromlechs, duns, hut-circles, chambered cairns and other remains in the county of Sutherland' PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 7, 273.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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