Cairns are man-made piles of stones erected as landmarks in Scotland and around the world by walkers and hikers. The uneven texture has inspired the hammered finish in our Cairnie Collection.
The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn which means ‘pile’.
Cairns have been used for a broad variety of purposes, from prehistoric times to the present. An ancient Scottish blessing, “Cuiridh mi clach air do charn” means “I will put a stone on your cairn”.
You can normally find a cairn or a pile of stones near waterways, mountaintops, moorlands and in uplands. Walkers carry a stone from the bottom of the valley to be placed on top of an existing cairn. Over time this tradition has become part of Scottish folklore and custom.
Often Cairns are placed in remembrance of those who have passed away. A great example is the Clava Cairns. What remains today would have once been part of a larger complex, the Burial Cairns of Bulnuaran of Clava which was first used in the Bronze Age. These cairns provide many clues to the beliefs of prehistoric society. The sites contain a range of burial monuments and the remains of a medieval chapel.
Over time, cairns have grown into large mounds drawing a huge number of visitors to Scotland each year.
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