Located on Mainland of the Orkney Islands, this is one of the largest circles in all of the UK and maybe the second oldest. The Ring of Brodgar, also called the Temple of the Sun, is some 340 feet across with stones up to 15 feet tall and it sits within eyesight of the Stones of Stenness, the Temple of the Moon. Few places I have visited have compared with this one-two punch.
Located on the northern end of the Isle of Lewis and near the Butt Of Lewis these two stones are small but powerful. The stone in the foreground is mostly milky quartz and quite rough. The stone in the back is larger, black in color with quartz veins, and rather smooth in texture. They are as different as day and night, with the black stone having a strong male energy and the quartz stone having a strong female energy.
One of the magic places. There are three large ringed cairns here, each ringed by it’s own stone circle and all placed in a setting ion lush green trees and mosses. There is an energy line connecting and running directly through all three cairns. The earth is rich with memories and I did not want to leave.
This photo is looking across the Center Ring Cairn to the Northeast Passage Grave Cairn beyond.
A ways north of Scone Palace is a most unique stone circle. Years ago when the decision was made to put a road through this area they decided to put it literally through the middle of the circle. There are now three remaining stones on each side of the road arched as if they were still in their original positions. It is interesting that even though these stones are overgrown with weeds and obviously no longer visited for ritual or anything else, they remain proud, and I enjoyed being in their presence
Aberdeenshire is full of recumbent stone circles. While visiting Sharon’s cousin John and his partner Lorna I invited them to join us in search of three circles said to be quite close together about eight miles southeast of Banchory. Off we went and with a little help from another couple we soon found The Nine Stanes ,or Mulloch, Stone Circle. (Burl calls it Garrol Wood)
This is a really fun site though the circle, which is at least 50 feet across, is in a bit of disrepair. I think six stones were standing and one of the recumbent flanker stones had topped over as well. The circle is located just within a wooded area providing a comfortable atmosphere. Many of the stones were covered with different colored mosses and lichens in a variety of shades of green with some oranges and bright reds. It is most charming but I knew I could not spend too much time there. I can only hope to one day get back.
Just about 1/2 mile to the NW further along the road we could see Esslie the Greater Stone Circle sitting out in an open field. We parked, climbed the fence and walked the 150 yards to find yet another recumbent circle about 85 feet across. The recumbent and flankers still stand proud, maybe five feet tall, but many of the other stones have fallen or are being absorbed into the earth. It seemed that it had been built up on a platform and it was obvious that there was also the remains of a cairn in the middle.
Another 1/2 mile north, within site of each other, we found Esslie the Lesser Stone Circle. The name speaks for itself. It is definitely the smallest of the circles and in the worst condition. I did find that the east and west stones were still in place and the west stone was a block of quartz. This circle sits up on high ground and the view down on Greater Esslie was pretty cool. Not often that I find places were you can gaze from one to another like this and I have to wonder why? which one came first?
What a fun day it was. In fact, it was a “three circle day!”
The cove is a group of three stones, two standing and one laying flat, just to the west of the Southwestern circle at Stanton Drew. The sites are separated by a fence. No one knows for sure what their purpose was but they are unique in location and in composition (different then all the circle/avenue stones) and have a calming energy. They are part of the Stanton Drew complex which also include three stone circles and the remains of two avenues. This is a magical place and there is often no one there.
The photo includes Martin Ringer, author of Pictures From The Past. He was kind enough to join Sharon and I there on our last trip to the site. His book poses many intriguing concepts and is well worth checking out.
Sitting high up on the hills above Keswick is maybe the most perfectly placed of all the stone circles. This circle sits on a flat topped hill that is itself completely surrounded by mountains. 110 feet in diameter there are 38 good sized stones making up the circle. To the southeast, on the inside, and up against the circle, there is a rectangle made up of 10 stones. I have not seen this elsewhere. I have read several ideas as to what was going on there but it is just another of those stone puzzles.
Castlerigg reminds me a bit of Sunkenkirk, they are both impressive circles with impressive views.
Keswick is a lovely lakeside resort town and can be very crowded. As a result, Catlerigg can draw lots of folks doing the tourist thing and that can be a bit of a bummer. Still it is a must see if you are in the Lake District. And, for any James Bond fans, the James Bond Museum is in town and was really good fun.