The Callanish, Isle of Lewis

The Callanish, in the Gaelic Calanais, were first mentioned by Diodorus Siculus in 55 BC and are believed to be approximately 5000 year old stones and are of Lewisian gneiss. Less a ring of large stones than a cruxiform shape the Callanish measures about 12 metres in diameter enclosing a huge monolith at its centre. The stones are believed to be aligned with the sun and the moon in order to predict eclipses and the coming seasons.

The centre of the ring includes the remains of a chambered cairn. The cairn appears to have been added to the circle and chambered cairns are considered to be Neolithic in date. 19 stones (remain) of two parallel lines make up an avenue about 80 metres in length running north from the stone circle, whilst also running from the circle are single lines of stones to the east (4 stones), west (4) and south (6).

In the care of Historic Scotland, the Callanish site was excavated in 1857 on the orders of Sir James Matheson. Increasingly a popular place for modern rituals such as New Year/Millenium celebrations and the Summer Solstice gathering, the stone circle can be found at the south end of the township of Callanish and is clearly signposted from the A858.


The standing stones at Callanish