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10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland – Scotland’s Tales | The Global Today

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On the subject of nationwide icons, standing stones in Scotland are proper up there alongside castles and bagpipes. They’re discovered unfold throughout the nation in all styles and sizes. Some have fancy data boards and automotive parks, others are seemingly forgotten however really feel way more pure.

Nether Largie Standing Stones
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

There are actually tons of of web sites to select from, so I’ve made issues straightforward for you with this record of 10 of the perfect standing stones in Scotland. You’ll discover a good selection right here, from stone circles to solitary monoliths, from virtually each area!

What Have been Scottish Standing Stones Used For?

First issues first, to make clear what a Scottish standing stone is! These are completely different from Pictish stones discovered totally on the East Coast with their stunning, intricate carvings. Sure, these are stones that are standing up, however are often solitary and date solely from the fifth to ninth centuries.

Scottish Standing Stones and Stone Circles have been raised hundreds of years earlier than that from huge, crude blocks! That is lengthy earlier than written sources and so now we have nothing modern to inform us what they have been used for. It’s clear they’d some sort of ceremonial function and the hassle wanted to create them reveals us they have been massively essential.

What Are Standing Stones?
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

The most effective guess for using standing stones in Scotland is that these have been astronomical instruments. Like an enormous calendar, monitoring stars, planets or the moon throughout a stone circle may also help inform what time of yr it’s. For a individuals who have not too long ago moved from hunter-gatherers to farmers, the beginning of winter or spring is a helpful factor to know!

1 – Standing Stones of Stenness – Orkney

High of the record for the perfect standing stones in Scotland needs to be the Standing Stones of Stenness. It’s not simply that the stones are monumental, in addition they make up the oldest stone circle henge within the British Isles. Erected round 5400 years in the past, they’ve had an awfully robust life although.

There are 4 upright stones nonetheless standing, the most important round 6 metres tall. Proof means that this was the very first of its sort anyplace. From Orkney, the concept unfold, reaching proper by Scotland, out to the Western Isles and all the best way south to Stonehenge in England.

Standing Stones of Stenness
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

Initially there have been 12 stones, plus an outlier with a gap in it often called the Odin Stone – a reminder of Orkney’s Viking previous. Even within the nineteenth century, locals clasped palms by the outlet to make oaths or verify their engagements. That was till December 1814 when a Captain Mackay started destroying them.

He was a newcomer to Orkney and claimed the locals have been damaging his land to go to the stones. He smashed the Odin Stone into items and commenced toppling the Stones of Stenness! Fortunately he was stopped earlier than he received to all of them!

It’s one among many unbelievable Neolithic Websites to discover in Orkney!

2 – Ring Of Brodgar – Orkney

On the different finish of a causeway separating two lochs stands the Ring of Brodgar. Not fairly as outdated as Stenness, it’s really the most important stone circle in Scotland at 104 metres diameter! As soon as comprised of 60 stones, there are solely 27 nonetheless standing!

The Ring of Brodgar is one among Historic Scotland’s many free, out of doors websites on the islands with its personal automotive park. The bottom can get just a little boggy so put on waterproof boots, particularly if its snowing like on my go to.

Ring of Brodgar
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

Native folklore claims that these stones have been all initially nocturnal giants who as soon as roamed the islands. One night time, a large performed his fiddle and the others started to bop. They spun spherical and spherical in an ideal circle, getting quicker and quicker, forgetting to observe the time. The giants have been so engrossed within the dance that the solar got here up and turned all of them to stone.

You’ll be able to nonetheless spot the fiddler who additionally turned to stone, just a bit bit away from the others.

3 – Calanais Standing Stones – Lewis

From one iconic set of islands to a different, no record of the perfect standing stones of Scotland is full with out the Calanais Stones. It’s probably the most spectacular places of the Western Isles and effectively definitely worth the journey.

There are literally a number of stone circles at Calanais, unfold round an enormous advanced. They have been initially raised round 5000 years outdated, though developed over time, their true function has been misplaced to historical past. Happily, it’s tales stay.

Lots of of years in the past, after a poor harvest, the islanders of Lewis have been operating out of meals. Not realizing what else to do, one mom made her approach right down to the sea-loch at Calanais. She begged the spirits of the water to take her as a sacrifice and spare the opposite islanders. Bravely wading out, she was shocked when a pure white cow with blood-red ears rose out of the waves.

The Global Today 10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

It beckoned her to the stone circle and he or she rushed to gather her milking pail. The cow patiently waited as she crammed her bucket with wealthy, creamy milk. Then, it was time to unfold the information across the different islanders. One after the other, they crammed their pails. The milk stopped flowing as soon as they have been performed and began once more when the following stepped up.

For 3 days, the individuals of Lewis have been sustained, however one outdated witch wasn’t completely satisfied. She had been having fun with the struggling, so when her flip got here, she fitted a sieve to the underside of her bucket. She milked and milked, however it might by no means be full and with a weary bellow, the cow was dry.

It disappeared beneath the waves as soon as extra. The Islanders must battle on for the remainder of winter and that cow would by no means be seen on Lewis once more.

4 – Kilmartin Glen – Argyll

On the subject of Scotland’s historic historical past, you’re spoiled for alternative in Kilmartin Glen. This quiet nook in Argyll boats the very best focus of prehistoric monuments discovered anyplace in Scotland.

You’ll be able to go to a dozen websites on foot from chambered cairns to rock artwork and naturally, monumental standing stones. Probably the most charming of Kilmartin Glen’s standing stones are discovered close to Woman Glasserie Wooden automotive park at Nether Largie. This isn’t a stone circle, however a wierd, elongated X-shape as a substitute.

Dog Friendly Kilmartin Glen
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

All 5 of the Nether Largie Standing Stones are simply shy of three metres tall, manoeuvred into place simply over 3000 years in the past. Look intently on the central stone and also you’ll spot some unusual hollowed out divets. These are often called Cup Marks, shaped by human palms 1500 years earlier than the stones have been organized!

Meaning these monumental slabs have been prised out of the bottom by individuals whose ancestors had used them for their very own function. Whoever raised the Nether Largie Standing Stones might have been simply as confused on the which means of the rock artwork as we’re at their very own work.

Traveller communities regarded Nether Largie as a protected, protected place to camp. Additionally they believed that it was unhealthy luck to the touch the stones so be warned – This isn’t the place on your Outlander re-enactment!

5 – Kintraw Standing Stone – Argyll

The Kintraw Standing Stone isn’t the most important in Scotland however at 13 ft, it’s nonetheless humbling to face subsequent to. Somewhat than set in a circle, this 4000 yr outdated stone is alone other than a few burial cairns. It’s, nonetheless, not removed from the wealth of prehistoric monuments in Kilmartin Glen.

Kintraw occurs to have an area legend which will or is probably not associated to the stone. There’s a small hill close by which is one among many believed to be dwelling to the fairies.

In the future, a farmer’s spouse from the world sadly handed away, abandoning her husband and two younger youngsters. On Sunday, the farmer went off to church  leaving the youngsters behind to take care of themselves. When he returned, the youngsters enthusiastically instructed him that their mom had come to see them.

Kintraw Standing Stone
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

The grieving widower received offended, shouting that they wanted to let their mom go. Each Sunday, the youngsters would say the identical factor and the daddy would get upset. He instructed them that the following time they noticed their mom they need to ask how her go to was potential.

The mom defined that she wasn’t actually useless. She had been taken by the fairies below the hill and was solely in a position to escape for a short time each Sunday. If her coffin was opened, solely a withered leaf could be inside.

The kids’s father instantly went to the minister to ask about checking his spouse’s coffin. The person of God scoffed on the thought. No one was going to be dug up from his churchyard due to a foolish perception in fairies. Quickly, the minister was discovered useless on the street operating proper previous the Kintraw standing stone.

In case you didn’t know by now, by no means mock the fairies.

6 – Aikey Brae Stone Circle – Aberdeenshire

On the subject of the perfect standing stones in Scotland, Aberdeenshire is a vital area. That is the one place on this planet the place you’ll discover Recumbent Stone Circles. Probably the greatest examples is Aikey Brae Stone Circle and whereas many of the stones are upright, it’s the large horizontal one that provides it the title recumbent.

Best Standing Stone in Scotland
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

Like others of this sort, that one stone is much bigger than its companions, faces southwest and is flanked by two tall sentries. These don’t seem elsewhere in Scotland, however there are dozens in Aberdeenshire, all created round 4000 years in the past. It’s thought that they could have been used to trace the moon’s cycle in opposition to the recumbent stone.

There are 10 standing stones right here, though half have fallen over, which makes Aikey Brae appear like a large hand bursting from the earth! The large 21-ton recumbent stone is a part of the thumb in case you’re questioning.

Recumbent Stone Circle
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

Sitting on a distinguished hill above Previous Deer, it’s a brief stroll as much as Aikey Brae alongside a devoted path, however far sufficient away from roads to present you some peace and quiet.

7 – Machrie Moor – Arran

There are few standing stones in Scotland as immediately recognisable as Machrie Moor on the Isle of Arran. It’s not a brief stroll out to the stones however it’s pretty flat with a good path. Beware the guard sheep although, I saved Molly on the lead however some have been nonetheless fairly daring.

Machrie Moor Standing Stones
A number of the Machrie Moor Stones

That is one other advanced of neolithic monuments. There are literally the stays of six stone circles surrounded by dozens of burial cists and hut circles. The stones are between 3500 and 5500 years outdated though they changed even earlier 6500 yr outdated timber circles. Some have solely not too long ago been found, utterly swallowed up by layers of peat.

One people story claims these have been created as fairies sat on the encompassing hills and flicked pebbles down in the direction of Machrie Moor. These fairies should have been giants in the event that they thought of these pebbles!

Fingal's Cauldron Seat
Molly doing her finest Bran impression

Whereas most individuals are drawn to the tallest stones, the double circle close to the outdated farmhouse has the perfect story. It’s known as “Suidh Coire Fhionn” or Fingal’s Cauldron Seat. That is the place the legendary Gaelic hero used to cook dinner his supper in a giant cauldron. His trustworthy canine Bran received in the best way whereas he tried to eat, so Fingal would tie him up utilizing just a little gap that’s nonetheless seen in a nook of one of many stones.

8 – Lochbuie Standing Stones – Isle of Mull

Even for those who aren’t searching for the perfect standing stones in Scotland, a go to to Lochbuie on the Isle of Mull is effectively definitely worth the drive. It’s a quiet nook on a busy island, with an ideal spot for lunch on the Previous Submit Workplace and a brilliant circular walk.

You’ll discover the stone circle hidden away from the street in a tree-fringed subject. Both park by the signed gate or go to as a part of the round stroll, then head into the primary subject. Comply with the white stones, however keep in mind to deliver wellies or waterproof boots, it’s one heavy downpour away from full bathroom.

Lochbuie Stone Circle
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

A couple of outlying stones information you to the surprisingly full Lochbuie stone circle. These aren’t notably massive, however their setting with Ben Buie within the background is fairly magical. It sits in a pure ampitheatre and whereas some stone circles sit on hills to be seen, this one would have been seen for the precise reverse motive!

9 – Lundin Standing Stones – Fife

It’s a typical false impression that Scottish standing stones are solely discovered across the north and west coasts. This was a tradition that unfold proper throughout the nation and the Kingdom of Fife has some nice examples! My choose of the bunch sit in one of many strangest places.

On the Lundin Girls Golf Course, gamers must keep away from a bunch of three 5-metre tall standing stones. Like all standing stones, individuals have been theorising about them for hundreds of years. Some thought they have been graves of Danish generals, others that they have been of Roman origin.

Lundin Standing Stones
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

Whereas these teams might have used the stones for their very own function, they’re older than all of them. What we all know is that they’re round 4000 years outdated and there was once not less than 4 of them. The lacking stone made the triangle right into a sq. however after hundreds of years it fell and has since gone lacking.

Within the 18th century, a coffin product of unfastened stone was uncovered at stones with a skeleton inside. Sadly, archaeology wasn’t fairly what it’s at the moment, so any helpful data has been misplaced. Possibly the stones have been erected as a part of this burial or possibly this essential particular person was buried right here due to the already distinguished stones.

These standing stones have seen hundreds of years of change and can be round lengthy after golf is gone!

To go to them, don’t comply with Google Maps however goal for the Girls Golf Membership as a substitute. Ask very properly on the starters field and also you’ll even get an data sheet. No canine on the golf course although!

10 – Hill of Many Stanes – Caithness

To complete off this record of the perfect standing stones in Scotland, I assumed I’d choose one thing very completely different. On the far north of mainland Scotland, in Caithness, you’ll discover the aptly named Hill of Many Stanes.

Whereas most standing stones awe you with their dimension, this website amazes differently. The stones are all tiny compared, however there are a lot of of them – round 200 in actual fact, unfold in 22 tough rows! It’s thought that there might have been round 600 right here initially, however it’s tough to make certain.

Hill of Many Stanes
10 Of The Greatest Standing Stones In Scotland - Scotland's Tales | The Global Today

It appears more durable to affiliate the Hill of Many Stanes with an observatory, however it had some significance. May it have been a approach of marking completely different generations of native households? With little to no proof that may even date the stones, that’s the idea I’m operating with!

Seen the entire finest standing stones? Effectively how about ticking off a few of Scotland’s many Clifftop Castles now?

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