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Clava Cairns
Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns

Free admission

The Basics

Two parts of the Clava Cairns complex can be visited: the Balnuaran of Clava, which features two passage graves, a kerb ring cairn, standing stones, and a central ring cairn; and Milton of Clava to the southwest, with its ruins of a medieval chapel and a cairn. Visitors will find information boards at the site explaining the significance and symbolism of the ancient stone mounds.

The cairns make for a common stop on guided day trips from Inverness and Invergordon, most of which include round-trip transport and visits to other famous Highland sites, such as Loch Ness, Cawdor Castle, and Culloden Battlefield—the site of a major Jacobite defeat—which is just a 5-minute drive from the Clava Cairns.

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Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
star-5
$50.36 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Beautiful, interesting while peaceful and relaxing.
Glen Affric is truly a beautiful, awesome hidden treasure. So glad Helen was our guide..she made our walk thru Glen Affric so much more than just walking thru a beautiful forest area.
Sheryl_N, Aug 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Inverness

star-5
Highly recommend
AmandaA, Jun 2021
Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
We had such an amazing day with Seana our driver, she told us very interesting facts about the local culture, and took us to some amazing places. I really could not recommend more this tour and company. will surely be using them again.
star-5
Well done Culloden museum and fabulous nature hike.
Emily_S, Oct 2021
Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
This was a fantastic day in nature! Paul was our tour guide and he provided us with lots of information, answered questions and brought us on hikes in Glen Affric. Our first stop was at Clava Cairns where Paul provided us with lots of information and lore. We stopped for lunch at Beauly and had a great lunch at the cafe and a walk about the Beauly Priory ruins. Culloden is a must see - a very well done museum area and memorial. Our hikes in Glen Affric brought us to fantastic views and a peaceful walk along the river. The roads to the hike are not for the feint of heart, but well worth the trip!
star-5
Great Culloden/Outlander Tour
jules1673, Aug 2018
Culloden, Clava Cairns Private Day Tour from Edinburgh
I'm sorry I can't remember the tour guide's name, but he was great! We had plenty of time at Culloden. The Clava Cairn stones are amazing! The Folk Museum was really interesting too. I highly recommend this tour!
star-5
One happy fan!
, Sep 2018
Culloden, Clava Cairns Private Day Tour from Edinburgh
I cannot say enough about Steve our tour guide and the tour itself! I live the small group setting, Steve is a wealth of information and fun to hang out with! We saw everything, heard all of the history surrounding it, had plenty of time to explore in our own too. And Steve showed us where outlander was filmed along the way. I highly recommend this tour!!!!!!!!
star-5
Culloden and Clava Cairns is a MUST SEE.
laurelsharp61, Oct 2018
Culloden, Clava Cairns Private Day Tour from Edinburgh
Sam was a great guide. She obviously cares about these sites. She took us to a settlement where we watched a woman use an old loom and it was fascinating. She stopped several times to allow us to see ruins and beautiful scenery. She is a good driver too..

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Clava Cairns is a must-see for history buffs.

  • The area around the cairns can become muddy after rain, so wear sturdy footwear.

  • Bring rain gear in case of a downpour, as the open-air site is exposed.

  • The surface around the cairns is uneven and may be difficult for wheelchair users to navigate.

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How to Get There

The Clava Cairns are located about seven miles (11 kilometers) east of Inverness, and are not served by public transport. From the Culloden Battlefield, the cairns are just a 5-minute drive or 30-minute walk away. Parking is available at the site.

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When to Get There

Because of their off-the-beaten-track location, the Clava Cairns do not attract big crowds. If you want to have the site all to yourself, go early in the morning.

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The Mystery and Intrigues of the Clava Cairns

As with many prehistoric burial sites, the Clava Cairns remain somewhat of a mystery. Historians can only theorize about their purpose or meaning. The cairns’ alignment suggest midwinter sunset was an important time for those who built it, but it’s not known exactly why it was so significant. With the sheer amount of effort necessary to arrange the stones for each grave, historians also believe the cairns may have housed important members of society.

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