It's half eleven in the morning and we've got about four hours before we must catch another ferry, so there's time for a couple of essential sites I never got round to on my first time on this island.
First is this one Ceann Hulavig, Moth didn't think of a more pronounceable name, which is good because I could be at the Lavi right now.
Eric and the dogs stayed in the car and I went up the misty sodden hill on my own, which was nice. On the way up, looking behind me to the south east I can see the hill on which there is a cairn and the map optimistically announces the presence of another stone circle, but I've done my homework a bit and know it's not worth blowing off Bernera bridge and a last fondle of Callanish for. I carry on up the hill into another world.
As I approach the stones of lavi the mist obligingly disperses, which was a bit weird, I had thought to be alone with only the stones for company but as the air cleared of moisture I could see where the other main stone collections are, and my place in the world became a touch clearer.
Only five stones remain of a probable thirteen, each stone about eight to nine feet tall, much like Gary by the water to the north north west, there is also the very scant remains of a little cairn within the circle, very much like Gary by the water. What a strange place this part of Lewis is.
Day 5 of the holiday and my first day on Lewis.
And as we all know Lewis means one thing – Callanish!
We were staying in Callanish so no prizes for where we headed straight for!
But before heading for the main site we first stopped at Ceann Hulavig stone circle.
We parked on the verge of the B8011 south west of the circle. The stones could easily be seen from the road. I climbed over the fence and headed uphill as quickly as possible. Despite the dry weather the ground underfoot was spongy and I imagine in wet weather it would be very boggy.
As I got closer to the stones my excitement grew and my pace quickened.
WOW – what a great site – and I had it all to myself!
There are 5 stones still standing – each about 2 metres tall and covered in ‘hairy’ lichen.
I counted 4 stones in the centre of the circle which may be the remains of a cairn?
Despite being windy the sky was blue and both the sun and the moon were visible. There are sweeping views over the surrounding lochs and hills.
I thought this was an excellent site to see and would highly recommend a visit when visiting Callanish. If this is a ‘taster’ of what Callanish has to offer then I am in for a treat!
Ceann Hulavig, also known as Callanish 4 is my favourite of the smaller sites on the Island. Perhaps because of the elevation and the near 360 degree view, but also the stones lend a more enclosed feeling. The depression you can see inside the circle was caused by peat cutting which revealed another two feet of depth to the stones. The stones are coated in great sheets of lichen, indicative of the wonderfully clear air here, and this is very much a place to come and breathe deeply, whilst constantly turning and taking in the view.
Visited 2nd August 2004: The first site of the day, it was good to meet Ceann Hulavig in the flesh. Shame that the weather wasn't great, but you can't have everything. We were pressed for time (not recommended) and so any scope for chilling out and enjoying the place was rather limited. Would have liked to have made a second visit in the sunshine.
Saturday 3 May 2003
This is a short drive from Calanais, along the B8011. The circle is visible to the west of the road after about a mile. Plenty of room to park on the verge on the opposite side of the road I think.
The stones stand out uphill from the road and can now be reached by a well looked-after path, newly refurbished when we visited.
Despite being uphill from the road, Ceann Thulabhaig still manages to nestle below the actual hilltop, but commands a wonderful view towards an inlet that lies directly between it and Callanish.
The hilltop once more features a 'low-key' equivalent of Cnoc an Tursa.
The stones are real big bouncing beauties, and it is interesting to see much more clearly than at the other 'big' sites where the peat has been cut away to expose more of the stones.
Another quite welcoming circle, to me, but I suspect it would change to be quite, wild, dramatic and even forbidding in bad weather (whereas, for example Cnoc Fillibhear Bheag would 'just' be inhospitable in bad weather – if you see what I mean).
And it is certainly an excellent place to have a breather in peace and to take stock of your day, week, month, year, life!
After spending the last three days tramping around Harris & Lewis, I have to say that this is one of my favourite sites. We had abandoned our trip to Callinish after bad weather and loud Norwegians had kind of ruined the moment, but came across this site in better weather a happier mood!
It was worth getting VERY wet feet for, and the site just filled me with the kind of joy I had been hoping to get from my trip to Callinish. We were the ony people there, no others cars even came by whilst we were up on the hill, depsite being on the edge of a main road and it was blustery and wild.
I would urge visitors to Lewis to look around at the other sites the Island has to offer rather than just sticking to the tourist routes...you may just discover a beauty like this one!
Tuesday 28th May 2002
I could have stayed here for hours! and I did! I couldn't help thinking that as you began to catch sight of these stones as you approached, that they resembled a group of wise elderly men.. It was pretty boggy in the middle but as the sun was shining , dry enough to sit on the bank looking down on them.. the lichens on these stones are amazing, like long green hair! Never seen anything like them! It felt like a very important site where people would have gathered on the journey into Callanish.. In fact ,from here you really did get a strong sense of how the whole lansdcape was perceived by our ancestors, and how travellers must have journeyed through each site in turn.. a very powerful, and empowering place to be.
Go and see this circle - but do it on a dry day!
The site is reached by taking the B8011 about 1 mile before Callanish village (from Stornoway) It is easily visible on the righthand side of the road, on a rigde. There's room for roadside parking - access is over a swampy verge and barbed-wire fence, then up the hillside.
There are 5 large stones in a sunken circle of very marshy peat - I guess caused by animals using the stones to scratch on. The stones are half covered with lichen, giving a bearded appearance which is most unusual. There's a rugged, untamed feel about this place - remote and hardcore. As with the other Callanish sites, the orientation is towards Sleeping Beauty and there are lunar alignments.