Callanish Stone Circles (1-8)
Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Callanish (Scottish Gaelic: Calanais) is a village on the West
Side of the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides (Western Isles), Scotland. A
linear settlement with a jetty, it is situated on a headland jutting into Loch
Roag, a sea loch. It lies 13 miles west of Stornoway.
There is a modern visitor centre which provides information about the main
circle and several other lesser monuments nearby.
A long way for most of us to go, but quite a
lot and some spectacular scenery to see when you get there.
Images to see a larger version
Callanish Stones, a cross-shaped setting of standing stones erected around
2000BC, one of the most spectacular megalithic monuments in Scotland.
Calanais I is almost always a confusing jumble of megaliths when seen in
photographs, as it is difficult to distinguish between stones that make up the
circle, those that make up the main avenue, and those that are part of the other
In reality it is a truly stunning and beautiful monument
- but perhaps
still a jumble of megaliths.
here for Picture Details
|Excavations have shown that the area was farmed more than 5000 years ago.
Around 3000BC the stone ring was set up and the central megalith erected.
Sometime later a chambered cairn was constructed between this monolith and the
east side of the ring. Sometime in the next two thousand years, stone rows were
added to the south, east and west, and a long avenue to the north. The whole
site was abandoned around 800BC and gradually began to disappear beneath the
The horizon to the southeast forms a silhouette like a person lying on their
back, known sometimes as the "Sleeping Beauty" or "Cailleach na Mointeach" (The
Old Woman of the Moors).
The Callanish II is an elliptical ring of five stones with a major axis of
about 21 metres and a minor axis of about 19 metres. Originally there were a
total of 10 stones in the ellipse with an 11th outlier. A cairn, eight and a
half metres in diameter, was built in the circle a little to the east of centre.
Located a few hundred metres from Calanais I. The tallest stone is nearly three
and a half metres in height.
Post hole evidence suggests that there was an earlier timber structure on the
same site, about 10 metres in diameter.
|Clannish III (this
picture) is a complex setting of 17 stones described as a
double ellipse or in some cases as two concentric circles with an inner cove.
Another account describes it as, "This has been interpreted as an outer ring
with an inner ring, quadrangle or cove; a complex double ellipse; and as two
concentric circles with an inner cove."
It is just a few hundred metres from the Callanish II stone circle.
See here for Picture Details
Clannish IV is a six-stone elliptical ring on a hilltop to the SSE of Calannish I across Loch Ceann Hulavig. It is an ellipse, about nine and a half
by thirteen and a half metres. The remains of a small cairn (about two metres in
diameter) stands within the circle. The original circle may have contained
thirteen evenly-spaced stones.
Clannish VIII - A semicircular setting of four stones on a cliff edge located
where the road bridge joins Great Bernera to Lewis.
Images to see a larger version
section on stone circles
The discussion on the purpose of stone circles
Please let us know any other information that we
can add to this Planning Grid or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always
wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be
correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of
course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have
any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page
then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you
quote the CIN Page Ref at the bottom of the Planning Grid above. To print the
planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.
Please submit information on locations you discover so
that this system continues to grow.