Back to the Western Isles! This is the first of three posts about our day in the sacred landscape around Calanais (otherwise known as Callanish)
We started off by pulling into a layby at the side of the main road and walking across a field to the small stone circle of Cnoc Fhillibhir Bheagknown (also known as Calanais 3). There had been cattle in the field – although none were around when we visited thank goodness! – and the peaty ground was very badly poached and covered in cow pats. This meant that it was really difficult to get close to the stones and there was nowhere to sit!
The setting is pretty spectacular, they’re on a ridge of land overlooking the surrounding landscape with views looking north west across Cnoc Ceann a’ Ghàrraidh (Calanais 2) to the great circle of Calanais itself.
Calanais 3 is actually an ellipse of thirteen stones (eight standing) surrounding an inner ellipse of four stones. The tallest is about 6 foot high.
Below is the view looking back to Calanais 3 from the stones of Calanais 2. You can see that they’re sat in quite an elevated position. The walk across to the second circle was a pretty boggy one!
Fortunately the ground was better at Cnoc Ceann a’ Ghàrraidh. The stones here are really beautiful and very striking in appearance, and much bigger than Calanais 3. The tallest is around ten foot high.
There are five standing stones, and two fallen. These form an ellipse which surrounds the remains of a cairn. In 1858 a metre of peat was removed to expose the stones and four post holes were discovered, which is thought to be evidence that the circle here had a wooden predecessor.
This circle had a lovely atmosphere.
Set by the shore of Loch Roag, Calanais 2 is much lower than both Calanais 3 and Calanais itself, which was visible on the ridge of land on the other side of the Loch. Here’s a view of Calanais taken with a zoom.