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Callanish

1 intrOductiOn Stonehenge is justifiably worldfamous, but far to the north in the Outer Hebrides stands a monument just as worthy of attention. Indeed, the Standing Stones of Callanish are sometimes called the Stonehenge of the Hebrides. For visitors who travel to appreciate its grandeur, the sites remoteness adds to its romance. Callanish and Stonehenge are incredible survivors from a megalithic culture which stretched the length of the British Isles. Brodgar in Orkney, Castlerigg in the Lake District and Rollright in Oxfordshire date from the same prehistoric era, as do around a thousand other stone circles. Many are now ruinous and an unknown number have been lost or destroyed. Approaching Callanish across the moorlands from Stornoway, the stones appear silhouetted along a ridge. Standing among the stones, the visitor becomes aware of the vast open hemisphere of the sky. There seems little doubt that the sun and especially the moon had parts to play in whatever ancient dramas were enacted here. Callanish is unique among settings of standing stones, having often been compared to the shape of a Celtic cross. Thirteen stones, between 8 and 12 feet tall, form a ring with a maximum diameter of only 41 feet, being slightly flattened on the east side.
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