Lael4.jpg (10605 bytes) topr.jpg (928 bytes)
newmid.jpg (6558 bytes)
botm.jpg (1686 bytes)

Orkneys   N.Highlands  E.Highlands E.Central   Borders  W.Central  W.Highlands   Hebrides










  Great Scots






   Travel Tips



        Since 1997
     Multimedia by
  Helmsdale Services


Scottish Hebrides Stone Circles

circles.jpg (9850 bytes)

On the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, at Callanish, stands the awesome collection of stone circles and rows of standing stones called the 'Hebrides' Stonehenge'. Why so much time was spent by early man 4000years ago building these monuments no knows  for sure, astronomical religious reasons seem the most likely. Generally, the megalithic rings that are found scattered over much of western Scotland are similar to those found in the rest of Britain, especially the ones in the Cumbrian Lake District. In the Western Isles, however, the rings are more varied in design and tend to have more features—multiple, concentric rings, outliers, stone rows and centre stones. They are much smaller and tidier than the mainland examples and more likely to contain burials. They also tend to be found in clusters, such as the small group at Machrie Moor on Arran. Many of these features are also found in Ireland. Local tradition says that giants who lived on the island refused to be converted to Christianity by Saint Kieran, who turned them to stone as a punishment. Another local belief says that at sunrise on midsummer morning, the "shining one" walked along the stone avenue, "his arrival heralded by the cuckoo's call." This legend could be a folk memory recalling the astronomical significance of the stones.
The first written reference to the stones was by Lewis native John Morisone, who in c. 1680 wrote that "great stones standing up in ranks were set up in place for devotione". The tallest of the stones marks the entrance to a burial cairn where human remains have been discovered. An excavation campaign in 1980 and 1981 showed that the burial chamber was a late addition to the site, and that it had been modified a number of times. It has been speculated, among other theories, that the stones form a calendar system based on the position of the moon.
You can find Standing Stones in every region of Scotland, but the Northern Isle of Orkney is nothing less than a megalithic paradise.



Advertise your Scottish tourist business with us & take advantage of our top search engine rankings to give you maximum exposure!