White Cairn, Glentrool


The little (Neolithic) house in the woods!

A well-preserved Bargrennan type cairn, close to the village of Glentrool in Galloway Forest Park.

My favourite cairn or prehistoric site is often the one I last visited, but I’m sure this one will remain a favourite. It exceeded expectations in every way, from the ease with which I found it, the pleasant walk from the village and then the first glimpse of it through the trees.  I expected to be taking some atmospheric photos of it through the mist and rain (like many other photos I’d seen!), but the rain stopped when we arrived in the village and then the sun came out and shone down into the clearing where the cairn is situated.

Signpost in the village
Path to the White Cairn
First glimpse of the cairn mound

The Bargrennan type cairns are unique to this part of Scotland and consist of a small chamber,covered with a round cairn. The White Cairn is well-preserved and you can follow the short entrance way into the chamber itself, which is still covered by its capstones.

From the short entrance passage to the cairn
Chamber of White Cairn

Excavations revealed that the cairn had been reused in the Bronze Age, when a cist was inserted into the side of the cairn. This contained an urn and cremated bone from a man.

There are many Neolithic cairns in Galloway, including some long cairns, but the main types are the Bargrennan ones and the Clyde cairns. The Bargrennan type are not found anywhere else in Scotland and are unique to the upland moorland areas in the west of Galloway and into southern Ayrshire. The Clyde cairns are found in the more fertile areas along the coast. These were court cairns with impressive facades leading into a gallery and similar to the court tombs in the NE of Ireland (see Cairn Holy post).

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