Albion, ancient sites, Archaeology, Magic, Photography, sacred sites, Stuart France and Sue Vincent, travel

Dreaming Stones: Line of Sight

The stones of Callanish were still busy. We were going to need supplies… and still needed to refuel the car and pump up the dratted tyre yet again. We thought it was time to leave the stones behind and drive into Stornoway, the largest town on the island, to do the needful. The trouble was, we would have to pass a couple of sites on the way… and it would take a fair bit of discipline to simply drive past without stopping.

In my memory, we went straight from Callanish to the next site, but according to the time-stamp on the photographs, we must have succeeded in resisting temptation. The facilities of civilisation were, by that point, very necessary, and we had already learned that twenty-four hour opening had not been adopted this far north. We didn’t want to miss our chance and be caught with another flat tyre and nothing to eat that evening. Stornoway, with its own history, ancient fortifications and doubtless many places to eat and sleep, somehow did not manage to register in consciousness although it did provide us with the first non-ovine traffic jam we had seen for nearly a week.

Stephen-Branley, Geograph

We drove around the town twice, finding our way and noting that it seemed a lovely little place… and, having thus damned Stornoway with such faint praise, headed back towards Callanish as fast as the roads would take us. Towns, apparently, were not where we were supposed to be. Instead, and sensibly, we headed back towards Alpacaccino’s for another cuppa and a brownie to die for. Not only that, there were plug sockets with an invitation to recharge phones and batteries… something else we didn’t want taking us unawares again… After a night in the car and a couple of hours with the stones, pretty much everything was without charge. And then we were back on the trail.

When it had not looked as if we would be able to plan our trip to take us to the islands, I had briefly glanced at what other ancient sites might be in the area. My sources got as far as ‘Callanish Eighteen’ before I doggedly stopped looking. After all, what was the point of knowing what we were going to miss? I hadn’t even looked to see what or where the sites were. To be honest, I half expected the other seventeen or so to be no more than odd stones or ruined cairns… interesting, but not worth a trip on their own. I still need to research most of them, but when we stumbled across them, ‘Two’ and ‘Three’ came as a bit of a shock…

The gate to Callanish Two… with stone building stick-men and astronomical symbols.

Just a stone’s throw across the loch that surrounds the stones of Callanish on three sides, we found Callanish Two. There are actually a huge number of ancient remains around the pristine waters of the loch, from prehistoric quartz quarries to submerged jetties and stone alignments, most of which would be missed by any but the most ardent stone-hunter. Some are visible only as humps of earth or odd stones, some are not currently visible at all… but there was no missing Callanish Two…

Callanish Stones from Callanish Two

We had seen the signs for Two and Three from the road, very close to the main site. We had even caught a glimpse… and shown admirable restraint by driving past. Now it was time to explore. The sites are so close to the main site that there is no way at all that they were separate ventures. They had to have been connected and part of a much wider sacred landscape… like the dials on a chronograph, each with their own function, but all related and part of the same technology. We have seen this at so many places in the past, but few sites illustrate this idea better than Callanish.

Callanish Two

We turned up a narrow lane that stopped beside a ruined house, ending at a gate into the field. Before us rose the stones of Two. To the right, just across the loch, the main site crowned the hill. To the left, Callanish Three poked its head above the rise. As for us, we were fair bouncing…

Callanish Three from Callanish Two

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