MacRee’s Cairn, Glen Meurain, Fortingall, Perthshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – NN 3959 4375

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 23899
  2. Gleann Meran

Getting Here

MacRee's Cairn, looking south
MacRee’s Cairn, looking south

Get to Pubil at the top of Glen Lyon, then walk on the track on the north side of Loch Lyon.  Several miles along you turn up Glen Meurain. When you reach the crossing of the stream, follow the waters up Allt Meurain for about 3-400 yards until you find a small flat section of marshland right by the streamside. You’ll notice rocky undulations of human remains here, and a distinct small cairn of rocks near the top of this section. Have a good rest here (and I’d advise avoiding the place in the summer months).

Archaeology & History

Remote indeed is this small cairn—less than 3 feet high and 4 feet across—sitting by the burn-side in a place many miles from any human habitation.  It is found amidst a small cluster of other archaeological remains close to each other, as if indicating a settlement of sorts, abandoned probably around the time of the Highland Clearances.  Although it is highlighted on modern OS-maps in antiquated lettering, the cairn here looks like it is only a few centuries old.  A larger mass of rubble stone is found adjacent to the small pile of rocks, from which it may originally have been taken.  Without archaeological analysis we will not know for certain the real age of this old tomb.

MacRee's Cairn & adjacent rubble
MacRee’s Cairn & adjacent rubble

Folklore

The small grassy hillside immediately across the trout stream here is known as Sith Trom’aidh – the Sad Fairy mound, whose history appears to have been lost.  Alexander Stewart (1928) told that this cairn was the burial place of one of Colin Campbell’s dairymaids, found and slain here during a skirmish with cattle raiders in the 16th century.

References:

  1. Stewart, Alexander, A Highland Parish; or, The History of Fortingall, Alex MacLaren & Sons: Glasgow 1928.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

MacRee's Cairn

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MacRee\'s Cairn 56.558269, -4.611638 MacRee\'s Cairn

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