Barpa Langais, North Uist

The best preserved chambered cairn in the Outer Hebrides. Like many others, it sits in an exposed position on open moorland with extensive views across the landscape of moors, lochs and low hills.

Path to Barpa Langais
The path up to Barpa Langais Chambered Cairn

 

Since Neolithic times most of the interior of North Uist has become blanketed in peat, leaving a large empty landscape of peatbogs, moorland and lochs, but it is also dotted with many megalithic monuments, one of the most impressive  being Barpa Langais.
The island of North Uist has the highest density of Neolithic tombs in the Western Isles, with around 20 recorded, and Barpa Langais is the most intact. Barpa is a Gaelic word for a chambered cairn.

It is easily accessible from the road and until recently it was possible to enter it. Unfortunately, a recent collapse in the passage has made it unsafe to enter, but from the entrance, you can still look down the short passage and see some of the inner chamber. The chamber is formed from 6 large upright stones which support a corbelled roof.

Barpa Langais is situated in a prominent position on the hillside beside the main road which cuts across North Uist. There is a car park beside the road and a path up to the cairn, making this one of the easiest cairns to reach on Uist. Many of the others involve a long trek across rough and boggy moorland.

Most of the chambered cairns in Uist are round cairns like Barpa Langais but there are also a few long cairns and some, like the rather dilapidated Barpa Charabhat, show evidence of a forecourt.

If you only had time for one visit to Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in the Uists, Langais is the place to go! Not only is this the best preserved cairn but further round the hillside is the lovely Pobull Fhinn Stone Circle, the most impressive and intact stone circle in Uist. The name means ‘Finn’s People’ and is named after the legendary Fionn Mac Cumhaill. It is situated on a man-made platform on a south facing hillside overlooking Loch Langais and Eaval, the highest hill in North Uist.
Also close by on the same hillside is Langais Woods where you can find the interesting stone settings of Leac Alasdair and Baishune’s Grave, which are probably Bronze Age.

More burial cairns,  stone circles and standing stones are to be found on the other hills nearby and Craonabhal on the south side of Loch Euphort (Loch Eport) is particulalry rich in prehistoric sites.

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