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Memsie Cairn

A large stone-built cairn, possibly of Bronze Age date, but enlarged during field clearance during the last two centuries.

Memsie Cairn

Sole survivor
The great cairn of Memsie is the sole surviving large burial cairn in a landscape once rich in cairns large and small.

In 1723 three great circular cairns, each around 30m across and 12m high, were recorded on Cairn Muir. They were spaced about 100m apart and surrounded by many smaller cairns.

A century later just the one large cairn remained, and even this shrank further in size until coming into State care in 1930. It still measures 24m in diameter and almost 4.5m high.

Over the past 200 years, various ‘finds’ have been made as the cairns were plundered for building material. These include a stone cist containing human bones and a flint ‘dart-head’ (arrowhead), suggesting that the great cairns were raised around 4,000 years ago in the later Neolithic Age. Other discoveries include a broken, late Bronze Age bronze sword, dating to around 1000 BC, and an iron sword found beside a glazed pot. They show that the cairns were occasionally re-used for burials into medieval times.

  • The cairn’s sheer size – not as big as it once was, but still an impressive sight in the landscape


Region – North and Grampian

3.5m South of Fraserburgh on the A981 in Memsie Village.

Grid reference - NJ 976 620.


Telephone 01667 460232.