This project marks the END of your adventure! We hope you had fun! Once you have finished this project, you can make your way back down the hill, the same way you came up.
A cairn is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn. Cairns have been and are used for a broad variety of purposes, from prehistoric times to the present. In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times. However, since prehistory, they have also been built and used as burial monuments; for defense and hunting; for ceremonial purposes, sometimes relating to astronomy; to locate buried items, such as caches of food or objects; and to mark trails, among other purposes.
As you now know, a cairn is a human-made stack of rocks and they can be used for many different reasons throughout the world. Your project now is to used the stones in this area is build your own Cairn, to mark your presence visible on the hill for this event. We hope to see lots of new cairns on Tara Hill, one for each child.
Please be careful not to disturb any wildlife and not to use stones that are too big and heavy.
Stacking stones is an old business. Trail builders in the Northeast picked up the tradition from ancient cultures. The Scots may be best known for it; after all, the word cairn originates from a Gaelic term for “heap of stones.” But the rather prosaic definition does little justice to a tradition stretching back millennia and across continents. The early Norse used stones as precursors to lighthouses, marking important navigational sites in the maze-like Norwegian fjords. Vikings blazed routes across Iceland with varda (Icelandic for cairn) more than a thousand years ago. Cairns cross deserts on three continents and dot the Tibetan Plateau, the Mongolian steppe, and the Inca Road system of the Andes. Erected for navigation, spiritual offering, or as monuments of remembrance, heaps of stone occur in just about every treeless landscape in which one finds loose rock.