Most of the prehistoric burial cairns I visit are situated away from habitiation – on top of a hill, or in a peaceful valley with few people about. But this one is a bit different – for it is bang in the middle of a busy caravan park in the Scottish highlands.
Just outside Sterling lies the Keltie Bridge Caravan Park, and it was built around this superb 1050 ft, long burial chamber – which has never been properly excavated. Anyway Auchenlaich Long Cairn is the longest cairn in Scotland and really is an enigma – what lies beneath…is it one burial, or several? No one knows…and as far as I am aware there are no plans to excavate it at present – or in the future for that matter.
The whole thing is aligned North/South and points to a gap in the far hills (which name I have forgotten) – but my mate and ‘guerilla archaeologist’ Paul Bennett says contains remains of a little known Bronze Age hill fort.
Anyway, about half of the mound is in the caravan park – and the remaining bit is in a farmers field. The caravan owner was really nice and was more than happy for us to look around it. As it was getting dusk we had a quick ‘poke about’ and examined the base of a couple of old trees growing in the middle of it.
Eventually we left the caravan park and opened a gate into the field and started to walk the remaining length of the mound, when we suddenly noticed a Land Rover hurting towards us very fast.
The farmer in the ‘Landy’ pulled up alongside of us and demanded to know what we were doing in ‘his’ field. We said we were just ‘looking’ at the cairn, but the farmer accused us of attacking his new born lambs, which was ridiculous – apart from which there weren’t any lambs in the field – and he told us if we didn’t get off his land he would call his dogs out!
In all my years of walking the hills I have never come across such a nasty farmer as that one – and on the way back we noticed his Land Rover parked outside a farmhouse next to the caravan park – with a big sign outside advertising ‘Bed and Breakfast – Traditional Scottish Hospitality”!!!
I think I will give it a miss…
You can read more about this long cairn here.