Isle of Lewis – Callanish

So my place of work, like everywhere else on the island closes on Sundays. Which gives me a lovely day off every week. Last Sunday I was recovering from the Hebridean Celtic Festival on Borsta beach and being uncharacteristically without camera I have no photographs of this stunning location. Though, to be fair to past me, I also had no towel, swimming costume, phone or shoes so I really don’t think I was in the best state to take artsy fartsy pictures. Festivals have a way of knocking me out for a few days. And my feet were too sore from ceilidh dancing to even contemplate shoes.

Anyway, moving swiftly on.

Yesterday I decided to go and visit one of Lewis’ many mysterious places; Callanish Stones. If you have been to/seen/heard of Strathclyde University in Glasgow you will know of Steelhenge, which is a steel sculpture based upon these stones. Callanish is quite a lot like Stonehenge, but a lot smaller; which I was surprised by actually.

Me, at Callanish II
Me, at Callanish II

If any of you have seen Disney’s Brave you might already be aware of them but if not I’ll give you a quick run down. These are (at least) three stone circles which were created about 5000 years ago. There are may theories on what they are, from tombs to astrological maps. Some people think they happened by chance, others think it might be some sort of pagan thing which lost it’s meaning after the conversion to Christianity. Some legends say that the stones are actually giants that refused the conversion

I, as ever, did things a bit backwards. I visited Callanish II and III before Callanish I, which doesn’t really change anything but I wasn’t really aware of what was going on. However, they were pretty spooky anyways. I think if no one had been there and it would have been very creepy. Word of warning; wear long sleeves and trousers. you have to walk through a field of long grass and later on a field of sheep, so there are lots of clegs and ticks. Clegs and rat bastards. No joke.  


There was a Danish family sitting eating sausages rolls in the middle of the circle for about half an hour so I amused myself with more arty angles of the stones. Which is difficult to do with people wandering about to be honest. However, one mean look and an exasperated sigh and most people tend to scurry along. Whilst taking the photo to the left here there was in fact another man taking the same photo towards me. We mutually decided not to get in each other’s way. Because I’m a nice person most of the time. 

To get the Callanish I you have to do a small trek. At the tourist information center it tells you that the walk is around a mile and will take you half an hour. 


Now, I’m not as fit as I once was but I’m certainly no slow poke.The walk is definitely no where near a mile, it took me about 5 minutes to walk up a mild incline. There’s a lovely rocky out crop with a breathtaking view of the lochs. 

If it had been a nicer day I’d have loved to take a picnic and made a day of it. I went up to the Butt of Lewis which was also breathtaking but once again I didn’t bring my camera as I had planned to drop my car off and the wind sort of lead me to the lighthouse or whatever. I’m gonna go up there again next Sunday, weather permitting. I’d like to camp up there actually, it was so peaceful, even with the campers that were there already.

Anyway. That is my island experience thus far. I’m gonna shove a pic of Hebfest in just to show you how fun it was. If you’re not into bagpipes or kilts or mass Scottish dancing and flourishing (a special kind of clap used when dancing which can cause blisters if you do it to much — trust me on this one it has happened) then maybe Hebfest isn’t for you. Otherwise do it. See you there next year! DSCN1468


Author: Kirsty

24, severe wanderlust

4 thoughts on “Isle of Lewis – Callanish”

  1. This totally looks like a mini Stonehenge! I find both of these rock formations fascinating. I wonder if they’ll ever be able to determine the origin of how they got their and what their use was. Is Callanish stones also in the middle of nowhere?

  2. I will actually be studying abroad in Scotland (Glasgow) this fall and have been eagerly looking forward to visiting Callanish!! Thanks for the tips on wearing long sleeves 🙂

    1. Sabien, Glasgow is where I study too, its a great place to be! Tim – theyare about a twenty minute drive from Stornoway but the whole island is pretty remote. It’s easy to.find from Caloway. It’s really amazing that theyve been there for so long without a known reason for sure! X

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