MHG779 - Chambered Cairn, Torr Beag


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Type and Period (1)

  • CHAMBERED CAIRN (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)

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Full Description

Torr Beag (NAT) Chambered Cairn (NR) OS 6"map, (1963)

Torr Beag, Brawlbin: Orkney-Cromarty, Round. This chambered cairn, on flat moorland, is placed on a slight natural rise a little below 450ft OD. It is heather-covered and still about 8ft high. The diameter is about 55 to 60ft but the edge is rather indefinite. The centre has been disburbed and the roof of the chamber has collapsed. The entrance has been from the SE. About 20ft from the cairn edge on this side are two lintels, probably in situ over the inner part of the passage. Four feet behind them are a pair of transverse slabs but at present no more of the structure can be made out with certainty. An apparently earth-fast slab stands 6ft W of the transverse slabs; its function is not clear.
RCAHMS note several small stony mounds, diameters from 12ft to 16ft and heights from 1.5ft to 2ft, to the N and E of the cairn.
A S Henshall 1963, visited 1956; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1910.

The remains of this chambered cairn are as described. The small stony mounds noted by the RCAHMS are insignificant and are probably clearance heaps.
Visited by OS (WDJ) 10 April 1962.

No change to the above reports. No mounds of any significance were noted.
Visited by OS (JM) 9 July 1981.

This chambered cairn is on a rise in flat heather moorland at 130m OD, at the foot of Beinn Freiceadain, 240m SSW of ND05NE 17. The cairn is covered with haether and bracken. NW half rises steeply and undisturbed to a height of 2.4m, and the edge on this side is well defined. The diameter NE-SW is 16.5m and the cairn appears to be round. However, it is much less easy to trace the edge round the SE side due to disturbance and the fall in ground level which has encouraged slippage. The passage has evidently run from the SE side. Two stones, one above the other and having the appearance of a rough wall-face, can be seen well within the apparent cairn edge on this side, and, together with the lower ground level to the SE, hint at a straight edge to the cairn on either side of the entrance. About 2.5m S of the centre of the cairn two passage lintels are partly exposed, their lower surfaces at the same level, 2m below the highest part of the cairn and 0.6m above the base of the putative wall-face. The SE lintel is over 0.8m long and 0.15m thick; the NW lintel is over 1.3m long, 0.4m wide, and 0.35m thick. A pair of slabs set obliquely to each other 0.45m apart can be seen 1.2m to the NW. The W slab is 1m long, 0.1m thick, its intact top projecting 0.6m; the E slab is over 0.3m long, 0.15m thick, projecting 0.3m. The whole centre of the cairn is a chaotic collection of stones lying at various angles, mainly flat regular slabs such as would be used as corbel stones. It is probable that the main part of the chamber survives intact except for the loss of the roof.
Visited 22 Sewptember 1987.
J L Davidson and A S Henshall 1991.

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred ND 0631 5622 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND05NE
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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