Calanais is a series of stones shaped as a celtic cross, at the head of Loch Roag. The centre dates back to ~2900BC. The site was built in stages, but was complete by ~1200BC, when it was abandoned, covered in a peat bog due to climate change.

I find this very interesting, as it’s IN THE SHAPE OF A CELTIC CROSS, but ABANDONED 1000 YEARS BEFORE CHRISTIANITY.

The extent of the site was only beginning to be uncovered in the late 19th century by peat digging.

In the same area there are several other stone circles, like Cnoc Ceann a’Gharaidh (Callanish II), Cnoc Filibhir Bheag (Callanish III) and Ceann Hulavig (Callanish IV).

The astrological elements centre around the midsummer full moon. Also, during the Summer Soltice, the radiation readings were double that of any other time. Although it does mark the Summer Solstice, it seems to be more focused on the moon.

Calanais I – row to the east marks Autumnal Full Moon Rise
The western and eastern rows align to the sun at the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes. When viewing from the south, on Midsummer’s Daybreak, the moon sets aligning precisely with the highest peak and the top of the tallest stone in the centre of the circle. The southern row points nearly due south, and points directly at the central menhir at one of the other sites.


Calanais I accurately tracks the lunar cycles. Everyone knows the moon has phases, going from full to new and back again (The lunar month).The moon also rises on the horizon at a different time and different place each day throughout it’s cycle. About fifty minutes later one day to the next. Every twenty-nine and a half days the moon will drift from northeast to southeast, setting in the opposite direction. These monthly swings have their own cycle – going from wide to narrow. The lunar maximum is the widest of these swings. It takes 18.6 years for the moon to go through the complete cycle from lunar maximum and back.

Just before midnight, every 18.6 years when the maximum swing is at it’s southernmost point, looking down the northern avenue of stones towards the centre, you will see the moon rise and move low across the horizon for a few minutes, then appear to set right in the circle.

Also, in part of the Callanish site is several more stone circles close to Calanais I. Cnoc Ceann (Callanish II) NB 222362. Five up-right stones, and two fallen, form a circle around a central cairn (tomb.

Cnoc Fhillibhir Bheag (Callanish III) NB 225326 to the east-south-east of Calansis I consisting of two rings of stones on a low ridge. Many of the stones are fallen or buried but in the outer ring, eights stones remain, and four stones in the inner ring.

Ceann Hulavig (Callanish IV)NB 230304 on a hill south-south-east of Calanais I consists of a central stone amidst a cairn, and five up-right stones forming a surrounding oval.

Local tradition says that St. Kieran turned the giants that lived there to stone when they refused to convert to Christianity (of course. Sounds like St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland, to me).

At sunrise on Midsummer’s Day, the ‘shining one’ walks down the stone row, heralded by a Cuckoo, considered the bird of Tir nan Og.

More folklore connected with Calanais is that it was a traditional place to exchange betrothal vows. Any marriage consummated amongst the stones would be especially happy.

Another tradition speaks of a white fairy cow that came ashore from the sea, to provide milk to the inhabitants during a famine. She walked from the sea through the stone circles, and allowed each person one pail of milk. Naturally, some greedy jerk, referred to as a ‘witch’, tried to take two pails, and when the cow dismissed her, she returned with a sieve and milked the fairy cow dry.

Calanais is an ancient wonder, its remoteness and wild location adding to its magnetism. Keeping its reputation as a sacred site for centuries and being part of the local landscape and folklore.

On the south-west horizon, in the distance, is a peculiar phenomenon of the ’Old woman of the moors’ or Calleach na Monteach. She is a figure of a woman laying down, made by the profile of mountains and valleys on the horizon. Affectionately known to the locals as ’sleeping beauty’ it is this land between myth and reality that callanish stands sentinel.

the modern antiquarian,,