Erected 5,000 years ago, 50 stones precisely placed on a broad ridge at Callanish together make up one of Scotland's most famous Neolithic sites. Their layout is unique: about a dozen stones in a circle around a 4.8 metre tall monolith and chambered tomb, with arms of smaller stones radiating out to the east, south and west, and finally an 83-metre avenue comprising 20 or so further blocks extending north. Together they almost form a Celtic cross shape when seen from above, but given their antiquity this is no more than coincidence. Instead, the arrangement is thought to align with lunar cycles - Historic Environment Scotland suggest the stones used to act as an astronomical observatory. The small but worthwhile exhibition in the nearby visitor centre explores some of this in more detail. The timing of your trip may affect your opinion of how special the stones are. A rushed stop as part of a coach tour will likely spoil their atmosphere, while an unhurried visit at sunrise or sunset might be a wholly different experience. They should certainly be included in your itinerary if you're holidaying on Lewis and Harris, but we're not sure they're quite worth the time and expense of an expedition from the mainland on their own.
Name: Calanais Standing Stones ★★★★☆
Location (stones): Minor road, south-west side of Callanish, G.R.: NB 213330 ///noun.dark.launched
Open (2018): Stones: always; Visitor centre: Monday to Saturday, April to October; Tuesday to Saturday, November to March
Cost (2018): Stones: free; Visitor centre exhibition: £3.50 (adults)
Anything else? From the main car park and visitor centre at G.R.: NB 214328 ///roosts.poets.deadline it's a 5-min uphill walk to the stones on a good path. Parking is also available adjacent to the stones.
|[Chambered tomb and central stone]|
|[Callanais Stones and village]|
|[Looking back to the visitor centre and Loch Ceann Hùlabhaig]|