Cairnbane, Portnacroish, Argyll

Chambered Cairn (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NM 925 473

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 23301
  2. Karn Vain

Getting Here

Sadly this site can no longer be seen, but it was evidently something worth seeing in its day.  Twas found “on the north side of Loch Laich, opposite Castle Stalker.”

Archaeology & History

In 1758 W. Burrell wrote about “a very large circular heap of stones, called Cairnbane, in which are said to be several subterraneous apartments, the passages leading to them, supported by large beams of timber in some places, in others by large stones, the entrance is now closed with a stone.” But in 1760 Richard Pococke reported that he could enter the cairn, saying that,

“on the west side of it a little way up is a very difficult entrance which leads to a cell about two yards long and one and a half broad, a this by a sort of door place to another about the same dimensions. I observed in some parts the stones on the side are laid flat, in others edge way, and a little sloping, and large stones are laid across on the top; To the north of it is a low heap of stones, in which three mouths of entrances are very visible, and there seemed to be two more; …the large one is twelve yards long at the top and about a yard broad: It is not improbable that these cells were built all round and several stories of them one over another.”

Explorations here by A.S. Henshall and the Royal Commission for Historic Scotland were unable to find the site and it has been deemed missing or destroyed.  I have yet to seek out any folklore relating to this lost site, but would be very surprised if there wasn’t something loitering in some of the old tongues and tomes!


  1. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Argyll – volume 2: Lorn, HMSO: Edinburgh 1975.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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