Stonehenge of the Hebrides

Though I’ve seen many of the 1300 remaining sites of standing stones in Britain, my favorite is the Standing Stones of Callanish, sometimes called the Stonehenge of the Hebrides. And, indeed, it is considered second in importance to its sister circle in England even though Callanish predates Stonehenge by 500 years.

Callanish, on the Isle of Lewis, is a remote site, a journey in itself. The surrounding moorland includes eleven other smaller circles. Built during the prehistoric era known as the Neolithic Age, they survive 5,000 years as testament to the people who created these megalithic structures.

The stones at Callanish are uniquely shaped in the form of a Celtic cross. The center ring is formed by 13 stones with one 16’ stone in the center. Below this area was a chambered tomb (41’ in diameter) where human remains have been found.

Four limbs radiate from the center circle with cardinal points of the compass. The stones along the north/south direction measure 400’; along the east/west direction, 150’.

We wonder why these circles were built. How these enormous stones (some weighing 10 tons) were moved to the location. Where such stones were found. How the circles were used.

We will never know.

Unlike Stonehenge, when you visit Callanish you can walk among the stones and touch them. You can become one with them, and, perhaps, feel the energy of the ages.

During two visits to Callanish, I looked forward to an extended time to just BE with the stones. Time to meditate, to wait, to listen, to connect to a time I do not know and can not understand.

Instead both trips were met with cold, driving rain and wind that had to be resisted in order to stand upright. Feeling defeated, I retreated to the visitor’s center and hot chocolate which was, indeed, welcome.

I’m determined to return. I MUST have my time with these stones.

Will I see you there?

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