We might have been able to find a room in Stornoway, had we looked, but it had never entered our heads when we went there to pump up the tyre. After spending the previous night sleeping in the car, and given the choice between repeating the experience or a nice, warm room with a bathroom, comfy bed and a cooked breakfast in the morning, there really was no contest. It must have been after ten thirty by the time we arrived at where we had chosen to spend the night and the view through our windows was spectacular.
We tucked the car up for the night in a corner by a derelict building, just outside the enclosure of Callanish II stone circle and we could both see and feel the presence of the stones as we wrapped ourselves against the evening chill and snuggled down. Through the windscreen, the stones of Callanish were silhouetted against the sky, through the back window, I could just see Callanish III, the Circle of the Long-seers, peeping over the rise. Across the loch, the Cailleach slept, her form still visible in the dusk-blue hills. It was a perfect spot.
Solstice, the longest day, was almost upon us. There would be no darkness this far north… no starry skies, just those patches of darkening blue glimpsed through low, grey cloud. There was utter silence, complete stillness, and a sense of being held safe in a sacred space.
I have always wanted to spend a night sleeping and dreaming within a stone circle… and we were surrounded by them. Apart from the three we had already visited, and the two we had ‘missed’ but which also overlooked our sleeping spot from a distance, there were also the remnants of several other circles surrounding us: Druim na h’ Aon Chloich, Druirn nan Eun… the ridge of the birds… and the small stone circle close to the main site. And that is without the various standing stones scattered across the landscape in the area or the timber circle now lost beneath the waters of the loch.
Is it any wonder that I slept like a baby and dreamed the night through? Or that I have dreamed of the stones and the island every night since that one, waking with vague memories of strange lore and clear images of a place seen for just a few hours? Or even that, long before we would have even started breakfast in a hotel, we were back on the road next morning, heading to yet another stone circle? Though this one was to prove a little different….