Eleven years ago I adopted the Moth speak for these two stone circles, Gary, down by the water, and here Philippa, on the hill. It is very pleasing to not have to bother with how it's all pronounced, i'm sure they do it to us on purpose anyway. Say hello Philippa.
After the short walk up from Gary by the water the stones came out boldly from the light veil of mist, kind of ethereal like, I love it when that happens, you don't always need blue skies to appreciate Scotland.
Two stone circles there are, an ellipse within an ellipse, some stones are missing, so from a distance it looks like a mad jumble of tall stones, only getting up among them can you tell whats going on.
People make a lot of business out of the sleeping beauty, made out of the hills to the south, I cant see her, and wonder whether others really do, there are lots of hills, I could probably make half a dozen ladies lying down. So I ignore her until someone can point her out to me.
Harder to ignore is that stone, and I'm not joking when I say harder. It is a giants schlong cut off and stuck in the ground, they must have gone to some length to find and accentuate this stone, when you look at it, there is no stone just a massive erection. Why would they do that if there was no sleeping beauty, I really must look harder at that horizon.
After visiting Cnoc Ceann a’Gharraidh it is only natural to head uphill to this equally tongue twistingly named stone circle!
The walk was fine for me but I am sure this would be very boggy in wet weather.
This is yet another superb Callanish site to visit – what a place this is!
The local stone certainly has lots of character with swirling patterns and veins of quartz and most covered in the now familiar ‘hairy’ lichen. Some of the patterns reminded me of tree grain. I also wasn’t expecting this to be a double circle – what a bonus! This is a lovely circle in a lovely setting.
The views are wonderful with stone circles, lochs, fields and hills to admire; all being carefully watched over by ‘sleeping beauty’. I again had the place to myself and all was quiet except for birdsong.
This is another ‘must see’ site when visiting Callanish.
When I first came to the Tursachan back in 2001 -on a bus trip after travelling as a foot passenger from Ullapool - it was the sight of this circle from the window that made me realise I'd made a big mistake..... oh dear, one day is never going to be anywhere near enough when there's gems such as this as 'satellite sites'. Only in Lewis, my friends.....
M'lud Yatesbury was right - of course the main circle and avenues blew me away in every way possible, but nethertheless I knew I had to come back to see this classic concentric stone circle, with two further beauties nearby.
That was in 2004, but the recent Ultravox reunion brought it all flooding back.... check out their 'One Small Day' video and see what I mean, although probably showing my age a bit here.
A first class site which would take first billing anywhere else but here.
My favourite place in Britain ... through the figure decorated gate, across the bog and up to the most atmospheric stone circle I have encountered. Wet, cold and rough around the edges, but from the right angle stunningly beautiful and jaggedly perfect. I need to post my photographs of the place.
A year on I'm still bitterly disappointed that time didn't allow a return trip at night to sit under the moon within the circle. The goat skeleton near by suggested that this is a place where few visitors tread apart from in the summer.
It was a strange pleasure to look across to the main Calanais stones and how the visitors had started to explore it in numbers. They're much less interested in Calanais III and I hope it stays that way.
Saturday 3 May 2003
Easily visible from the A858 on the left approaching Calanais from Stornoway – just before a cattlegrid. Soon dubbed 'Philippa'(!) for convenience I'm afraid.
What a place. I first visited before I got my feelings for Callanish itself sorted out. This was no bad thing, as it allowed complete appreciation of this stunning circle and its 'special features' – see a23's fieldnotes for superbly expressed details!
To me, as well as the fascinating 'phallus & triple goddess' and 'Sleeping Beauty' phenomena, the most striking thing was how beautifully proportioned the circle, its stones and its setting in the landscape are. To me it also felt particularly 'open' and welcoming.
Julian comments in the big papery TMA that Callanish itself can easily overshadow the nearby sites. (I don't like calling them 'satellite' sites or any term that could belittle these wonderful places.) And he's probably right. But that's just a crying shame.
Yet to me, at Cnoc Fillibhir Bheag, Callanish does not truly dominate. It's higher up, bigger and 'more fancy', true, but 'Philippa' is also raised well above the land between herself and Callanish, with the remains of Cnoc Ceann a' Ghàrraidh lurking significantly more or less between the 2, on the low-lying moorland that separates them.
For me, the relationship between the 3 is intriguing.
Noteable is that like the other main 'Callanish' sites, there is a nearby 'low-key' equivalent of Callanish's Cnoc an Tursa. There is also a very significant looking 'v'-shaped gap in the hills looking south (in the centre of this picture).
Visited briefly again on Sunday 4 May, mainly to take more photos. Still in love with the place.
We wandered first to the impossible to pronounce Cnoc Fillibhear Bheag. The ground was marshy and the rain had started to pour down. Not that we were too bothered; to wander round all the Callanish circles had been another main point to the trip.
A path links Cnoc to another circle a couple of hundred metres away known as Cnoc Ceann a’Gharraidh. A place with an equally long and difficult name and which boasts quite a cool triangular stone which we took the opportunity to shelter behind whilst the wind threatened to blow us into the bog. Callanish could be seen in the distance its stones like needles sticking up from the ground
This has to be the most blatantly sexual circle! Essentially a ring of stones, some missing, some fallen, surround an enormous phallus addressing the triple goddess with Sleeping Beauty providing the backdrop. As with the other Callanish circles (and there are 21 others discovered at present) the positioning towards Sleeping Beauty is paramount, and like the main Callanish site, this one has lunar alignment.
However it's the sexuality of these stones that impresses. The phallus is replete with glans and whorls of quartz stream from the "eye" in a representation of semen. The Goddess is represented as maiden by the smooth white stone on the left, as mother by the reddish central stone, which has unmistakable breasts and as wise woman by the right stone, tall and more impenetrable.
Staying in the Smiths' house, which is all of 300 yards away from this site, is the perfect location to visit at all hours of the day or night...
Location is dead easy, right beside the main road (on the left) as you come into Callanish village (before the cattle grid!)