Scheduled Monument

Kinrive West and Kinrive East, long cairns 150m NNW and 175m N of Mid KinriveSM2436

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Prehistoric ritual and funerary: long cairn
Local Authority
Kilmuir Easter
NH 69950 75389
269950, 875389


The monument comprises a pair of long cairns thought to date from the Late Neolithic to Bronze Age (the fourth and third millennia BC). The cairns, of Orkney-Cromarty type, are located on open hillside and lie around 160m above sea level.


The western cairn is roughly an elongated oval on plan and measures approximately 63m in length and 18m in width at the northeast end and 13m in width at the southwest end. The cairn is visible as a substantial mound of exposed stones with a maximum height of 3.5m. Along the central length of the cairn, several depressions may indicate the presence of chambers. The northeast end of the cairn has been overlaid by a more recent field dyke, however, evidence at the east end suggests this terminus of the cairn was straight edged or even concave – a feature of other similar long cairns. Only 50m east of the western cairn, lies another long cairn. The eastern cairn, roughly oval on plan and visible as a mound of exposed stones, measures approximately 13.5m in length and 7.5m in width. The cairn is up to 1m in height with no visible sign of a chamber, however, long cairns can be chamber-less. The monument is surrounded by previously cultivated land, now rough pasture, on a gradual southeast-facing slope which runs to the coast and estuary some 6km southeast. The site has distant open views over the coastal plain and across the Cromarty Firth to the Black Isle beyond.


The scheduled area consists of two separate, irregular areas, each centred on a cairn. The scheduled area includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The post and wire fence, track and information board are excluded from the scheduling. The monument was first scheduled in 1964, but the documentation did not meet current standards: the present amendment rectifies this

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to our knowledge and understanding of the past, particularly the design and construction of burial monuments, and the nature of belief systems and burial practices during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age in Ross and Cromarty. The cairns have good field characteristics, allowing us to interpret their form, function and position in the landscape and have potential for the presence of buried archaeological remains, including burials, artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence. Architectural features such as the possible horned façade on the northeast end of the western cairn and the possible line of chambers within the same cairn are noteworthy. There are numerous other cairns in the vicinity of the monument, which together can contribute to our understanding of the prehistoric landscape.  This is important for enhancing our understanding of Late Neolithic and Bronze Age society, its organisation, economy, religion and demography. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand funerary practice, death and burial in prehistoric times, and the placing of such monuments within the landscape.



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 13721 and 13727 (accessed on 31/05/2016).

Childe, V G. (1944). 'An unrecognised group of chambered cairns', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 78. Pages: 28-31.

Henshall, A S. (1963). The chambered tombs of Scotland, vol. 1. Edinburgh.

ISSFC. (1902). 'Excursion to Balnagown and Strathrory', Transactions of the Inverness Scientific Society and Field Club, vol. 5. Page: 363.

RCAHMS. (1943). Emergency Survey of Archaeological Monuments in Military Training Areas: Ross-shire. Edinburgh.

RCAHMS. (1979) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of the Black Isle, Ross and Cromarty District, Highland Region. Edinburgh. Page: 8, No. 13.

HER/SMR Reference

  • HIghland HER MHG8173
  • HIghland HER MHG8178

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

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Printed: 03/10/2023 12:14