Driving back to the Isle of Lewis, you will find the stone circle of Callanish located inside a fence next to a small lunch and tea room. If it’s raining hard, you will be glad for this shelter! There is no admission fee to the stone circle. You just pass through a small gate and you are on your own. Not at all like the hoards of tourists at the famous Stonehenge, Callanish remains aloof and alone.
Callanish is one of the most complete stone circles in Britain. There are 13 large stones of banded gneiss arranged around a central monolith 4.5 metres high overlooking a chambered tomb. About 40 smaller stones radiate from the circle in the form of a cross. This stone circle is said to date from between 3,800 to 5,000 years ago, roughly contemporary with the pyramids of Egypt.
The stones are tall and regal and as you walk around them you get a feel for their mystery. Who knows why they were erected and how? They definitely have a presence all their own. If possible, put your hands on some of the stones and just stand there for a few minutes, absorbing that energy. If you listen with your heart, the stones can be heard. Callanish is celebrated by some groups as the home of the goddess Brigit, whose special day is February 2.
While in the Hebrides, check out some other ancient sites you can find listed in your guide book. Make sure you have booked accomodation at a local B&B, as the weather could change at any moment.
2: Fortingall Yew, Glen Lyon, Scotland
The yew tree in Fortingall, Scotland is said to be the oldest in the world, dating back over 5,000 years. Situated in the village of Fortingall in the valley of Glen Lyon in Perthshire, the site is as beautiful as it is ancient. The yew is surrounded by a stone fence so that visitors will not destroy any more of its branches, as was done in the past. You can still stand in front of it, or peek through the fence. It feels like your great-great grandmother and you don’t want to disturb it!