Even here, as well as in more extensive places, a monumental stone stands in the middle of a plain, ten feet high, and four broad, nearly of the same form with those so frequently met with elsewhere, and, like them also, there is no tradition whatever respecting either the time when, or the purpose for which it was erected. Around it, on the first day of the New Year, the inhabitants sometimes assemble for their amusement, and indulge for a while in the song and the dance.
Wow. What an amazing place this island is! Very barren... very windy!
Walking down the "main road" (said with a wry smile!) from the lighthouse to the bird observatory, we came across this tall fellow...
In a field near the observatory, unmissable due to the lack of much else! There is an electric fence around the drystone wall here, which suggests the owner would rather people didn't go into the field... I'm sure it's passable, but out of politeness, and respect for the cows, we stayed outside the perimeter.
But it's a bit of a beauty! Very tall, broad yet somehow slender, with a wee hole in it about three-quarters of the way up.
I've heard that the stone is still in use today - at New Year, the islanders gather round it and sing songs! Fantastic!
According to Orkneyjar (http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/monoliths/stanstane.htm) it could well be an outlier to a long-gone stone circle... It's certainly in a good location, and I was surprised there weren't more standing stones on the island...
Dress for rain! And wind!
Access: From the airport, turn right at the war memorial, and follow the main road from the airport to the bird observatory. The stone is unmissable in a walled field on your right. Just past the walled field is an open field. Half way along the wall is a style.
N.B. The wall and style are surrounded by a low voltage electric fence, which I am led to believe means the landowner would prefer you not to enter the field. Which stands to reason. Use your discretion.