A 5,000-year-old cairn at the heart of Inverness has been targeted by “mindless vandals” who destroyed a plaque at the historic site.
The damage at Raigmore stone cairn, in Ashton Road Park, was discovered by a local resident. The information plaque, mounted on a stone at the foot of the monument was ripped off.
The plaque described the stones’ journey from their former location on the A9 to Raigmore, after their original home was levelled to make way for an upgrade to the trunk road in the 1970s.
Keith Fernie from Inverness spotted the damage while cycling in the local area.
He said: “It’s really quite sad when people do that, considering all the work that went into shifting it and all the volunteers; it’s very sad to see it being abused.
“Amazingly this 5000 year old monument was painstakingly shifted stone by stone to its present location by a group of volunteers without whose efforts the ring would have been bulldozed in the construction of the new A9.
“The community at Raigmore do wonders in looking after it, keeping it in a good state of repair so it’s very disappointing for them to see it being tarnished in that way. This is not really the way to remember the volunteers. What way was this to repay such public-spiritedness, and who wouldn’t despair of such mindless vandalism?”
The plaque was erected in 2013 as part of a project – brought forward in collaboration with Raigmore Community Council, local residents, Archaeology Scotland and Highland Council – to regenerate the area .
Councillor Ian Brown for Inverness Millburn spoke of his disgust over the shameful act saying: “It’s a sad for everyone given the community effort that has gone into it. It’s a total disgrace that people do that especially since it was a community project – which makes it worse. Someone would know who it was so you would think they would possibly report it as we want people to get caught; to be named and shamed.
Director of Archaeology Scotland, Eila MacQueen added: “This site was one of the projects we worked on a few years ago after it suffered from a lack of recognition in terms of their being a bit of anti-social behaviour going on around it. It’s disappointing to see and hear there has been some vandalism to it as the site means something to the people of Inverness.”
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “It’s always sad to hear of damage to our historic environment. The cairn has had a long and complex history and has been saved more than once by the strength of local support to ensure its survival and its place at the heart of the Raigmore community.”