Callanish

30 June 2021
The Standing Stones at Callanish (Calanais)

We are very fortunate to live so close to Scotland’s answer to Stonehenge, the magnificent Standing Stones at Callanish. The map below shows just how close we are as the crow flies, although to reach the Stones by car requires a 20-minute journey. 

If it weren't for the island between us, we would be able to see the Stones from our B&B

Callanish is a well-known and popular stopping point on anyone’s visit to the Isle of Lewis. Estimated to have been erected around 5000 years ago, the Stones predate both Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The granite-like Stones are actually made of Lewisian gneiss, one of the oldest rocks in Britain. The tallest Stone is almost 5m high and weighs 5-6 tons.

It is believed the cruciform-shaped stone circle, with a burial chamber in the middle, served as an astronomical observatory, celestial calendar and place of ritual activity. There is much speculation about what the site has been used for over the millennia, but nowadays one thing is sure – it attracts at lot of visitors at the summer solstice.

The solstice this year occurred ten days ago, on the evening of Sunday 20 June. We drove over to find the Stones teeming with people, many of whom had set up camp for the evening. This was a far cry from the previous year, when Scotland was under severe travel restrictions and we were part of only a handful of folk milling around and soaking up the spiritual essence.

Nevertheless, what is perhaps even more fortunate is that our small island, Great Bernera, has Stones of its own. They are called Callanish VIII and they can be reached via a short cycle ride from our B&B. So if it’s solitude we’re after at the next solstice, we may well cycle over to those magical Stones instead and avoid the crowds. After all, that’s one of the reasons we moved to such a remote location.

Callanish VIII on Great Bernera, overlooking the Bridge over the Atlantic

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