Callanish Stones - Isle of Lewis - Western Isles - Outer Hebrides

The Callanish Stones - a fascinating collection of stone circles and standing stones - in fact The Isle of Lewis has the most complete historic stone circles in Europe. The Western Isles - History
Callanish Stones - Isle of Lewis - Western Isles Historic Monuments
The Callanish Stones Site is in the charge of Historic Scotland. Calanais is Gaelic for Callanish - originally it was actually called Callernish, previous to this they were named Classerniss. The Isle of Lewis affords one of the most complete historic stone circles in Europe
Photo Gallery of callanish stones  - Isle of Lewis
Callanish STones - Surreal photos
Calanis is the Gaelic for Callanish. Callanish has three sets of stone circles - each being within a mile or so of each other. The Isle of Lewis has many examples of stone circles and the most impressive - the Callanish Stone circle now attracts many visitors from all over the world.
The Largest Callanish Standing stone
This Stone - pictured opposite is the largest of the standing stones in the Callanish Circle and is is said to weigh around 5.5 tonnes. This stone is located at the start of the burial tomb.

The Avenue
To the North of the main circle is an avenue. Here is a double row of stones - there are 19 in all. . Single rows of stones can be seen to the east, west and south from the main circle Partially Buried - Under Peat

The stones were once partially buried under peat. The lovely peaceful setting and the silvery stones have inspired generations of poets, artists, photographers

Observe The Moon
The Callanish Stones may have been used to observe he moon First Reference

The Callanish Stones were first mentioned it is thought in 1680 by John Morisone, a Lewis gentleman who wrote that the purpose of the stones was for devotion. It really is a miracle that these stones have stood on the Isle of Lewis for thousands of years largely undamaged

Local Legends
Local legend have it that these stones came about as when giants of old who then lived on the island refused to be Christians - St.Kieran who lead the Christian mission on the island turned them to stone.

Another local legend tells how in a time of famine a white cow emerged from the sea and directed the women to take their milk pails to the old stone circle, where she provided everyone with one pailfull of milk each night.

A witch tried to get two pails but didn't manage it and so she returned next time with a sieve and she milked the cow dry. After that the cow was never seen at the Callanish stones Why, Calanais was abandoned around 800 BC and eventually became blanketed in peat remains an ancient mystery shrouded in the mists of time.
Lewisian Gneiss
The stones - made of Lewisian gneiss - the name deriving from the isle of Lewis. The Lewisian gneiss is one of the oldest rocks in Britain and dates back to around 3000 million years ago - are mostly granite like

3000 Million Years Old Rock
Lewisian rocks are the oldest in the British Isles, they have been crushed melted and folded for over 3000 million years to form the hard crystalline rock know as Lewisian Gneiss from which the standing stones at Callanish are made of.

The Ice Age - Two Million Years Ago
About two million years ago the ice age came to Lewis. Glaciers engulfed the land and the sea forming the smooth rocky landscape you can see today.
The Circle
There are actually several monuments - but by far the most famous is the Callanish 1 - which includes the circle which consists of a central stone just under five metres in height, surrounded by a circle of thirteen stones

The stones range from 8 foot in height to13 foot - all of which surround the tallest stone which is 16 foot in height. Inside the circle is a central burial chamber thought perhaps to be of Neolithic age.

An excavation in 1980/81 showed that the burial chamber was a late addition to the site, and that it had been modified a number of times. Human bones were discovered.
Surreal Photo of the Callansih Stones
Sea Levels Rise - Peat Forms - Buries The Stones
When the ice meted twelve thousand years ago, the sea level rose - flooding river valleys and lower ground and creating the lochs and drowned valleys of the isles. As the climate improved the land became alive, soil formed and plants and woodland returned. Peat developed on the poorly drained ground and extended upwards and outwards to cover large tracts of land.

It buried the natural rocks and the stone monuments that had been erected by early settlers. Later peat became the chief source of fuel for the islands.

The main stone circle can be found near the village of Calanais, Isle of Lewis, an land just above Loch Roag and is one of the more remote stone circles in the British Isles. The overall layout is shaped like a distorted Celtic cross, with five rows of stones radiating from the central circle

Stonehenge of Scotland

Callanish is often called the "Stonehenge of Scotland" - but in actuality the persons who built . Callanish simply didn't have the resources that were used in the building of Stonehenge - but it has become obvious that they had a great understanding of the skies.

The construction may have begun as early as 1800 BC - generally it is though though to have been during the neolithic period of between 2900 - 2600BC Unlike Stonehenge the circle is not "roped" off and it really is lovely to be able to be so close to it and even touch the stones - and feel the atmosphere.
Surreal photo of The Stones
Callanish Stones Part of the Main Circle
Photo Gallery of callanish stones  - Isle of Lewis
One of The Callanish Standing Stones
Part of the Main Circle of Callanish Stones
Surreal Photo of The Stones
Callanish Stones
The Largest Callanish Standing Stone
Callanish Stones
This Stone has lovely Markings
Photo Gallery of callanish stones  - Isle of Lewis
The Callanish Stones - The Avenue
          The Largest Callanish Standing Stone
Blackhouses - Isle of Lewis Gallery Photos
Carloway Broch

The Iron Age Broch at Carloway in The Western Isles a stunning example of a broch. The broch was a structure built as a means of defence. The Carloway broch was probably built for either a tribal leader or at least for a really important member of the community......


Amhuinnsuidhe Castle - Isle of Harris - Western Isles - This lovely Scottish castle sits by the river and has played quite a part in Scottish history. The castle was built in the 1860's has quite a history. It is now owned by the residents of North Harris and Ian Scarr-Hall.......

Bridge to Nowhere - Isle of Lewis

The Bridge to Nowhere - Isle of Lewis - Western Isles - Outer Hebrides. The bridge to nowhere at Garry. The road after the bridge was meant to run from Tolsta - to Ness. The Bridge was so named because today the bridge does actually lead nowhere at all - once over the bridge - there is just a "kind of rough path" which runs a mile or so along the clifftops petering out to the moorland........

©2014 Virtual Hebrides
Website Design and Hosting by Western Isles Web Services Ltd, Isle of Lewis Western Isles - Outer Hebrides