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


Clach an Trushal

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Joolio GeordioImage © Joolio Geordio
Also known as:
  • The Thrushel Stone
  • Clach an Truiseal
  • Clach an Truiseil

Nearest Town:Port Nis (19km NE)
OS Ref (GB):   NB376538 / Sheet: 8
Latitude:58° 23' 37.93" N
Longitude:   6° 29' 28.14" W

Discussion Topics0 discussions
Start a topic

Show map   (inline Google Map)

Images (click to view fullsize)

Add an image Add an image
<b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by postman <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by postman <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by rockartwolf <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Zeb <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by BigSweetie <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by BigSweetie <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by BigSweetie <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by BigSweetie <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by BigSweetie <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Bonzo the Cat <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by follow that cow <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by greywether <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Joolio Geordio <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Joolio Geordio <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Joolio Geordio <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by alirich <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by alirich <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Joolio Geordio <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Joolio Geordio <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Martin <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Chris <b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by Chris


Add fieldnotes Add fieldnotes
Probably the tallest standing stone in Scotland.
It's been eleven years since my last dalliance with the Trushal stone, too long, and since then they've decided there was once a stone circle here, maybe two, or even a stone row, sounds familiar doesn't it?
We got here about dusk, in late July that's about 10pm, due to an incurable tent malfunction, were staying in the big metal tent tonight, it's got an inbuilt radio at least, and you don't have to pack it up in the morning, so we parked in the small layby next to the apparently empty house that is right next to the stone.
We had a good look round the stone just as the post sunset golden glow faded away. In the morning it was quite surreal to look out the back window and see a megalithic wonder right there. The stone is tremendous, I'll be back for sure.
postman Posted by postman
11th August 2016ce
Edited 11th August 2016ce

Visited 31.5.12

It’s certainly a whopper!

The stone is sign posted and very easy to access and stands in its own small patch of land. The stone is covered in the light green ‘hairy’ lichen.

I am pleased to say that the rusting cars etc have been removed and the area around the stone was clear of crap.

There are good coastal views to be had from the stone. Definitely one to visit.
Posted by CARL
5th July 2012ce

Oh dear! The largest standing stone in Scotland; a bit of a tourist trap perhaps as well as a mecca for megalith hunters. Maybe, even, a second Callanish.

So what do you find when you get there? Well it's signposted from the road but then you drive through a very unattractive area with rusting cars. And then no information at the stone itself. Doesn't even say how big it is.

Given the good record of information boards located at other sites, you might have thought that the Lewis authorities would want to talk this one up a bit.

And there is a story to tell - apart from its height. See the Folklore and Miscellaneous postings here.

Now this absence of information should not have affected our visit since we had all the stuff from Canmore. Yet, somehow, I did not get the buzz from this site that others clearly have although I did enjoy searching around for the "lost stone circle".

Visited 31 July 2004
greywether Posted by greywether
14th August 2004ce
Edited 14th August 2004ce

This destroyed stone circle was rediscovered by Ron and Margaret Curtis on 19th September 2002 and documented in the Council for Scottish Archaeology publication Discovery and Excavation Scotland Volume 3 2002. Additional details are included in my web log Two "New" Stone Circles (Re) Discovered On Lewis.

Joolio Geordio Posted by Joolio Geordio
1st June 2004ce
Edited 11th October 2004ce

Ooooh, I really liked this site! We had spent the previous day at various sites of stone circles, so to come across this monster menhir was quite refreshing....I think of all the sites on Lewis, this was my favourite, just for the pure majesty of it. We were followed up the path by an aged labrador who seemed happy for us to be in his territory, and the backdrop of the sea and the sky was just awesome.

After the complexity of Callinish and its sister sites, the single huge monlith seemed understated and yet even more impressive.

Shame someone has seen fit to open a haulage site right next to the stone though!
Vicster Posted by Vicster
21st August 2003ce

Clach an Trushal Standing Stone, Lewis
We stopped off here on our way up to the Butt of Lewis on a rather blustery and overcast day- nothing like an enormous standing stone to cheer ya up! This monster is one of the tallest in Scotland and is approx 6 metres tall and covered in a fine array of lichen.
Posted by Martin
8th September 2001ce

A beast of a stone, mysterious to me for its lack of horizonal or land-based monuments. What purpose does such a massive block serve? Covered in utterly amazing sheets of moss and lichen, which were lushly dripping with rainwater when I visited. Posted by gyrus
27th August 2000ce


Add folklore Add folklore
Close by the township of Ballantrushal is the tallest standing stone in Scotland. Almost 5.7m high, this monolith could easily have been a prehistoric sea marker. The coastline hereabouts tends to be rocky and it is no particular coincidence that the beach close by is one of the few amenable landing places available for open craft. The Gaelic name is Clan an Truseil, the Stone Of Sorrow. Local tradition has it that it marks the grave of a Norse prince, but also commemorates the victory of the Morisons of Ness over their sworn enemies, the MacAulays of Uig. The monolith, however, predates any event AD.

Lewis and Harris by Francis Thompson.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
19th December 2016ce
Edited 19th December 2016ce

The Thrushel Stone in the Parish of Barvas is above 20 foot high, and almost as much in breadth. There are three erected Stones upon the North side of Loch-Carlvay, about 12 foot high each. Several other Stones are to be seen here in remote places, and some of them standing on one end. Some of the ignorant Vulgar say, they were Men by Inchantment turn'd into Stones; and others say, they are Monuments of Persons of Note kill'd in Battel.
'A description of the Western Islands of Scotland' by M. Martin, 2nd edition, 1716.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th December 2016ce

Leabhar na Feinne (1872) by J F Campbell.

This book of Gaelic ballads includes one called 'Laoidh an Truisealaich' . It is "an imaginary conversation with a great standing Stone" and "Murray, the reciter, asserts that it was the custom in his youth to recite this 'Lay of the Truiseal Stone,' near the butt of Lewis in Shawbost."

It's quite long so if your Gaelic is up to it you may read it at
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th April 2011ce

According to p270 of 'A pronouncing Gaelic dictionary' of 1833 by Neil McAlpine (online at Google books), 'Truiseil' means 'lascivious'. Maybe that's why other writers have said they don't know what it means - it's too rude for polite society. Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th June 2007ce

The stone and a poem connected with it are mentioned in 'Footprints of Early Man' by Donald A. Mackenzie, 1909 (online at google books) but there's not much mention of the source:
A standing stone 20 1/2 feet high and 6 1/2 feet broad, with a notch at one side near the top, is situated 80 feet above the sea-level and facing the Atlantic on the west coast of Lewis. It can be seen far out at sea, and it [..] may have been a landmark for the guidance of mariners. Seen from a distance it resembles a human hand. Its Gaelic name is "Stone of the Truiseal", but what "Truiseal" means is not known. An old Gaelic poem asks the "great Truiseal":
"Who were the people in thine age?"
but the stone gives a very vague answer, saying it merely "longs to follow the rest" (the ancients), and that it is fixed "on my elbow here in the west".
I found this additional fragment of the poem at
"The Truiseal stone is reputed to have been a man in by-gone days, who had been turned to stone. A passer-by had heard the stone proclaim in sepulchral tones:

A Truisealach am I after the Fiann;
Long is my journey behind the others;
My elbow points to the west
And I am embedded to my oxters.
Your oxters are your armpits! so the stone must be very big indeed.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
19th February 2007ce
Edited 19th February 2007ce

I like the idea that this stone was used as a marker for travellers who arrived by sea... an early lighthouse, perhaps?

Mind you, this theory doesn't follow if it was indeed part of a larger complex.
Vicster Posted by Vicster
19th July 2006ce
Edited 20th July 2006ce

Well, coming from Borve along the road and having consulted a few of my fellow locals, it is doubtfull that the battle marker scenario carries weight. Not saying some folks don't hold to it, but as far as I was always told it was a burial marker for a Norwegian princess who was on her way to Ireland to get married. She died on the journey and this is where they buried her at first land sight. Personally, I think that's nonsense as has recently been proven by Joolio Geordio, Curtis etc that it is part of a larger setup. You only have to look at the other large prone stones right beside it to see that. No way was it a menhir. Check out Joolios postings on it anyway. Still an amazing place. Posted by macmegalith
4th June 2004ce
Edited 4th June 2004ce

Clach an Trushal might mean 'stone of compassion', or maybe 'stone of gathering'. It's the largest standing stone on Lewis at 5.8m high and allegedly was erected to mark a victory by the Morisons of Ness over their enemies the MacAulays of Uig.

(I probably read this in Mr Grinsell's 'Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain' (1976)).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th September 2003ce
Edited 30th June 2007ce


Add miscellaneous Add miscellaneous
Said to once have been surrounded by a stone circle "like at Callanish" but the stones were broken up and incorporated into field walls.

The surrounding field walls certainly contain much larger stones than you normally see in dry stone dykes.

See Canmore NMRS NB35SE1 and Joolio Geordio's weblog at for much more information.
greywether Posted by greywether
14th August 2004ce
Edited 14th August 2004ce