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Calanais Stones

This is a story with no ending. Against the backdrop of their 5000 years, the stones have witnessed countless changes in the people and the landscape around them. The story tells about developing landscape, the evolving environment, a land of circles, stones, archaeology and conservation along with many other topics.

In the absence of any sure knowledge, theories as to the meaning and purpose of such stone structures abound. Many adhere to the belief that they were used in rituals relating to the moon, stars and the position of the distant hills.

Whatever inspired their construction, all agree that the experience of visiting the Standing Stones of Calanais is not to be missed.

There are at least a dozen sites of interest around Calanais. The main stone complex contains around 50 stones in a cross-shaped setting. The impressive inner circle comprising 13 stones, the tallest of which is 4m high, and a small chambered cairn.

The main Calanais circle was excavated in 1980 and 1981 by the then Inspector of Monuments, Patrick Ashmore.

There is plenty of information about the stones in the book "Calanais, The Standing Stones", available to purchase at the Visitor Centre or to buy online.

Na Dromannan Stone Circle


The The Na Dromannan Stone CircleNa Dromannan Stone Circle sits on the crest overlooking the main Calanais circles. In August 2003 a four-week excavation was started to try and determine whether they represented a collapsed circle or quarried stones. 

The excavation found that a number of the monoliths were snapped - which could only be the result of the stones having fallen, so it became clear that this was indeed a collapsed stone circle.

The circle appears irregular in shape and comprises 15 stones in the outer circuit and 5 internally. No artefacts were recovered from the circle during the 2003 excavations, nor any signs of fires or other activities. This suggests that once the stones were erected little else occurred at the site.

Cnoc Ceann a' Ghàrraidh


Cnoc Ceann a' Ghàrraidh

Callanish 2 - Cnoc Ceann a' Ghàrraidh (pronounced approx. krok kyain a gaa-ree) is located not too far away from the main stones site and comprises a stone ring which was dug out of the peat in 1858

Cnoc Fhillibhir Bheag


Cnoc Fhillibhir Bheag

Callanish 3 - Cnoc Fhillibhir Bheag (pronounced approx. kroc fill-i-ver veg) is close to Callanish 2 and is a stone ring with 8 stones standing on its circuit and 4 inside it.