Monday, September 24, 2007

Corrimony Cairn

Tuesday September 18, 2007:

The Corrimony cairn, Near Glen Urquhart, is a partly roofed passage grave constructed in the "Clava Cairn" style and surrounded by a ring of standing stones. It lies on the level flood plain of the River Enrick and is built from water-worn stones and pebbles.

The rain had abated slightly as we made our way damply across the rough grass and through the circle of standing stones. The cairn sat solid at their centre, round and magnificent, more complete than any we had yet seen. Crouching, I crawled through the passage, via the muddy puddle at the entrance which greeted visitors.

The central chamber walls arched overhead, the cap stone set aslant as though casually pushed back. Inside, the chamber was warm and dry. I walked slowly round, touching the stones, marvelling once more at the ingenuity and simplicity of their stacking, finding hidden nooks and little shelves in which to put a candle and some incense. AS I walked, my companion played a sad tune on his tin whistle. Meanwhile, the stones seemed to listen, silent in their empathy.

WE sat down back to back on a rug in the centre. Quietly, I invited the spirits of the place to come as, to the soft shaking sound of my pilgrimage egg rattle, we settled back to dream.

Fear and excitement merged as I crawled through the tunnel. The chamber was silent, the ground softened by skins and cloths laid upon it. I crawled in and curled up to wait.

All was silent. I could hear the earth gurgle, like lying on the stomach of a huge creature. My heart beat loud, my fingers laced through the fur and wool, and I was comforted by their familiar texture.

I drifted off to sleep. In my dream, I was a small boy sitting under an old tree on a hillside. Below me, scraggy-looking sheep gambled round the cairn of stones in the meadow below. In the distance, the river, swollen with the winter rains rushed on.

A sound, was it the shifting of the stones, woke me? I blinked, dazzled by the sudden shaft of bright sunlight pouring in through the passageway. The chamber, no longer pitch-black was starkly illuminated, every stone picked out; some glinting, others glowing. I scrambled to my feet and, perhaps a little stiffly (for I had lain there a long time) crawled out into the dawn of a new day.

My companion’s back was warm against mine. Gentle drops of rain began to patter softly against my skin. In the distance, a car door slammed. Distant voices approached.

Slowly, I got to my feet and began to walk counter-clockwise around the chamber. I thanked the elements and the spirits of the place for visiting and the cairn itself for the sanctuary it had offered in the past, for I felt certain that the woman who had been buried here was not the only user of the chamber. I opened the circle and we crawled back out into the meadow and the watching circle of stones.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home