Visitors from around the world  come to see the Callanish standing stones. The stone circle constructed over 4000 years ago,  is second in terms of importance only to Stonehenge and it is older. The stones are Lewisian gneiss set in a cross shape marking out the four directions with of a central circle of 13 tall stones and burial chamber. There are several other standing stone circles  nearby. Lewisian gneiss, is estimated at 2900 million years old, and is some of the oldest rock in the world.

Etched against a backdrop of an ever changing sky the Callanish Stones stand high upon a ridge. They have stood for 5,000 years in testament to the astounding technology and determination of a people who we would deem as been primitive. But these people had an understanding of astronomical events. The movement of the moon, not only on a daily, monthly or even yearly cycle but of the events that only come every nine or eighteen years.

The moon was an important calendar in these people’s lives it is believed that they used this stone circle for celebrating and counting the days for planting and harvesting and giving thanks for each years yield.

 These ancient people had an infinity with the sky and the land and it is thought  that the Stones were erected in the view of the Sleeping Beauty, the Earth Mother, which are the bank of hills that lie between Achmore and Garynahine. The hills represent a sleeping figure of a woman, which is said, gives birth to the moon every 9 1/2 years.

The great megaliths are the pivot to all the other smaller stone circles and solitary standing stones that are dotted all over the Isle of Lewis.

On dark misty days and wild moon lit nights the stones seem like transfixed shapes of other worldly form. Giant cowled cailleachs, slightly bending to hear the whispers of the frozen earth. In the summer when thousands of tourist come with their flashing cameras the stones seem to retreat into themselves, guarding their secrets and mysteries. Whatever the day and whatever the weather, the stones stir the imagination and bring us a breath closer to the people who had the foresight, determination, love and awe of their world, something that we would do well to remember ourselves, in a world that is fast growing with a technology that takes us away from the earth and all her mysteries.

The Callanish Stone circle can be accessed at any time of day or night, throughout the year.


The Callanish Visitor Centre

The cafeteria overlooking the sea loch and beyond to the hills of Uig offers a good variety of home-made fare, including main meals, soup, sandwiches and home baking..The cafeteria has easy access for disabled visitors.

There is a walk -through exhibition depicting "The Story of the Stones" an audio-visual display which explores how the Standing Stones were built and used and what they have meant to people throughout the centuries.

A gift shop  sells the work of local artists, Harris Tweed accessories, music, books, postcards and a wide variety of gifts.

Visitor Centre Opening times:

April to September
Monday to Saturday
10am - 6pm

October to March
Wednesday to Saturday
10am - 4pm

Calanais Visitor Centre
Isle of Lewis
Western Isles


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