The Callanish Stones
The Callanish Stones stand high upon the ridge etched against an ever-changing sky. They have stood for 5,000 years in testament to the astounding technology and determination of a people who we would deem as been primitive. But these people had an understanding of astronomical events. The movement of the moon, not only on a daily, monthly or even yearly cycle but of the events that only come every nine or eighteen years.
The moon was an important calendar in these people’s lives it is believed that they used this stone circle for celebrating and counting the days for planting and harvesting and giving thanks for each years yield.
It is also thought that the Stones were erected in the view of the Sleeping Beauty, the Earth Mother, which are the bank of hills that lie between Achmore and Garynahine. The hills represent a sleeping figure of a woman, which is said, gives birth to the moon every 91/2 years.
The great megaliths are the pivot to all the other smaller stone circles and solitary standing stones that are dotted all over the Isle of Lewis.
On dark misty days the stones seem like transfixed shapes of other worldly form. Giant cowled cailleachs, slightly bending to hear the whispers of the frozen earth. In the summer when thousands of tourist come with their flashing cameras the stones seem to retreat into themselves, guarding their secrets and mysteries. Whatever the day and whatever the weather, the stones stir the imagination and bring us a breath closer to the people who had the foresight, determination, love and awe of their world, something that I think we would do well to remember ourselves, in a world that is fast growing with a technology that takes us away from the earth and all her mysteries.
The Callanish Stone circle can be accessed at any time of day or night, throughout the year.
The Calanais Stones Visitor Centre
The cafeteria offers a good variety of home-made fare, including main meals, soup, sandwiches and home baking.The cafeteria has easy access for disabled visitors.
The building is also home to a walk -through exhibition "The Story of the Stones" an audio-visual display which explores how the Standing Stones were built and used and what they have meant to people throughout the centuries.
A gift shop caters for locals and visitors and sells the work of local artists, Harris Tweed accessories, music, books, postcards and a wide variety of gifts.
Vistor Centre Opening times:
April to September
10am - 6pm Monday to Saturday
October to March
10am - 4pm Wednesday to Saturday
Calanais Visitor Centre
Isle of Lewis
Photograph by Ann Bowker