The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Standing Stones


Amazed that this is the first review up here - but then, it's a trek and a half to Callanish! When I arrived it was pissing down. The journey, especially the ferry across, was very exciting, but this didn't rise to a peak as I approached the site, as I thought it may. I edge round the stones in the rain, then decided to go find Margaret and Ron Curtis.

Instantly had a ball in their exhibition shed: Margaret got me contstructing mini stone circles in circular sand pits, and I learnt more about stone circles in 15 minutes than I done reading many books. Margaret's such an enthusiastic and clear communicator. Then we helped Ron outside - he was experimenting with ways of erecting stones using wooden tripods and twisting rope - great fun!

The next day I was treated to great weather - sunny and windy (no midges!) - and to a comprehensive tour of the area by Margaret. She charges £20 an hour for tours, and believe me it's worth it. I had naively assumed the idiosyncratic 'skew-whiff' plan of Callanish was at least partly due to innaccurate construction. Pah! After half an hour, Margaret had me gobsmacked at the pinpoint precision underlying the apparent chaos of angles and lines.

There's a path around the circle that you're advised to keep to, but of course no one does. The first time I entered the circle itself was with Margaret - I didn't feel like doing so when I first arrived - and for a good 5 minutes or so, it was an effort to concentrate on the information she was giving me. The sheer overwhelming buzz of being up-close to those magnificent gneiss columns just made me grin and reel.

One thing worth noting is that there's one of the best places to camp ever here - just past the visitors centre on the little peninsula sticking out between Loch Roag and Loch Hullavig. Not an official camp site, but no one minds you there if you take care of the place, and the visitors centre leave the toilets open all night. Nice one.
Posted by gyrus
27th August 2000ce

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