Western Isles

Callanish

Arguably the finest group of all the British stone alignments are to be found in this region. The group of impressive alignments leading from the majestic stone circle at Callanish is different to anything else and helps to illustrate the considerable variety in form.  No other alignments make such a dramatic architectural statement and the clear differences between this site and the others in this gazetteer emphasises the considerable variations. The stone alignments in this region generally consist of small numbers of large stones, with the obvious exception of Callanish, North itself which is also the only double row in the region.

Map showing the location of the Western Isles

 

Interactive map showing the distribution of Western Isles stone rows. Click on top right symbol to open a larger version. 

Western Isles stone alignments at a glimpse

Argyll and Isles stone alignment plans

Simplified plans of the stone alignments in the rest of Scotland. Scale for rows in top right hand box except where otherwise shown. Click on image to open a higher resolution version.

Western Isles stone alignments in charts

Pie charts showing the proportions of different types of stone row in the Western Isles and Great Britain. Click on image to see a higher resolution version.

Pie charts showing the proportions of different lengths of Western Isles and British stone rows. Click on image to see a higher resolution version.

Pie charts showing the proportions of different numbers of stones recorded at Western Isles and British stone rows. Click on image to see a higher resolution version.

Pie charts showing the proportions of different stone sizes recorded at Western Isles and British stone rows. Click on image to see a higher resolution version.

Radar graphs showing the orientation of Western Isles and British stone rows.

Western Isles stone alignments in numbers
No. of alignments 14
Number of single alignments 13
Number of double alignments 1
Number of triple alignments 0
Number of multiple alignments 0
Maximum length 251m
Minimum length 5m
Average length 45m
Median length 19.4m
Longest alignment Airigh Na Gaoithe
Shortest alignment Cnoc na Grèine
Total number of recorded stones 73
Average number of stones in each alignment 5.2
Median number of stones in each alignment 4.5
Alignments including small stones 1 (maybe result of deep peat growth)
Alignments including medium stones 5
Alignments including large stones 12
Average orientation 100°
Average altitude 36m
Highest alignment Borve (109m)
Lowest alignment Eyre Alignment (3m)
Cairn at the top of alignment 1
Cairn at the bottom of alignment 0
Scheduled alignments 7

Individual Rows

Information for the individual stone alignments can be viewed by clicking on the site names below. Whilst it is believed that the existing information is accurate, mistakes inevitably occur and should you spot any your help in improving this resource would be much appreciated. Your help will of course be fully acknowledged. Please use the contact button to get in touch.

 

Airigh Na Gaoithe

A probable single stone row measuring 251m long, including five widely spaced medium and large-sized slabs situated on the summit and west facing slope of Airigh Na Gaolithe with far reaching views. Three of the stones are upright and two are recumbent. The row is orientated east to west and leads westward from a possible long cairn. A hilltop location is unusual for a stone row.

 

 


Blathaisbhal (Blashaval)

A probable single stone row measuring 56.8m long, including three widely spaced medium-sized upright slabs standing up to 0.6m high situated on a north west facing slope with far reaching views. The row is orientated ESE to WNW and whilst it has been suggested that they could be boundary markers this row is similar in form to others in the vicinity and a prehistoric explanation is most likely.

 

 

 

 


Borve

A possible single stone row measuring 9.7m long, including three large upright orthostats situated on a gentle south west facing slope. The northern stone stands 0.89m high, the central one is 1.54m high and the southern one is 1.52m tall. The row is orientated north west to south east. The doubts regarding identification exist because it is possible that this represents the remnants of a mutilated stone circle and because of its proximity to the road.

 

 

 


Callanish, North

A substantial double row (or avenue) measuring at least 84m long, including 19 large upright stones forming part of a ritual complex situated at the southern end of a flat-topped ridge. The row is orientated north to south and terminates at an impressive stone circle at its upper southern end. The row stands in an area with 3 other stone rows, several stone circles and cairns.

 

 

 


Callanish, East

A single stone row measuring 21.5m long, including five large upright orthostats forming part of a ritual complex situated at the southern end of a flat-topped ridge. The row is orientated east to west and terminates at an impressive stone circle at its western end. The row stands in an area with 3 other stones, several stone circles and cairns.

 

 


Callanish, South

A single stone row measuring 22m long, including five large upright orthostats forming part of a ritual complex situated at the southern end of a flat-topped ridge. The row is orientated north to south and terminates at an impressive stone circle at its lower northern end. The row stands in an area with 3 other stones, several stone circles and cairns.

 


Callanish, West

A single stone row measuring 13m long, including four large upright orthostats forming part of a ritual complex situated at the southern end of a flat-topped ridge. The row is orientated east to west and terminates at an impressive stone circle at its eastern end. The row stands in an area with 3 other stones, several stone circles and cairns.

 


Callanish 5

A single stone row measuring 13m long, including three large upright and two recumbent orthostats situated on a north west facing slope. The row is orientated north to south. A further standing stone in the vicinity may be broadly contemporary.

 

 


Clach An Tursa

A single stone row measuring 7m long, including three large orthostats situated on a south west facing slope with restricted views of the nearby sea. Only the central stone (2.3m high) remains standing and the other two either broke when they fell or have been subsequently split. The row is orientated north west to south east and stands within an historic crofting landscape.

 

 


Cnoc na Grèine

A probable single stone row measuring 5m long, including a glacial erratic,  two upright slabs and a recumbent orthostat situated at the top of a steep slope overlooking the Sound of Harris. The row is orientated ESE to WNW and provides a restricted view to St Kilda. It has been suggested that this may be the remnants of a chambered cairn, but the surviving evidence is more consistent with a stone row interpretation.

 

 


Eyre Alignment

A possible single stone row measuring 5.4m long, which probably originally included three large orthostats situated on a narrow terrace adjacent to Loch Eyre. Only two stones remain, the northern one stands 1.54m high and the southern one which is 1.66m tall protrudes from a low elongated mound. The row is orientated NNW to SSE. The doubts regarding identification exist because it is not known whether the third stone was in line with the others and the presence of the mound. There are several cairns in the vicinity.

 

 


Garynahine, Cnoc Fillibhir Mhor

A probable single stone row measuring 17.3m long, including five stones protruding through the peat situated on a gentle south west facing slope. The peat means the original size of the stones is not known, although one of the stones appears to be recumbent. The row is orientated north to south and has definable visual links with the sea and nearby stone rows and stone circles.

 

 

 


S46 Scarista, Harris

A possible single stone row measuring 41m long, including four large recumbent and one upright orthostats situated on a gentle north facing slope overlooking the Sound of Taransay. The row is orientated north to south. Further standing stones in the vicinity may represent the remains of a stone circle. It is possible that these stones are either entirely natural or were placed to form a boundary.

 

 


 Sgealtrabhal  (Skeal Traval)

A probable single stone row measuring 79m long, including four widely spaced large-sized recumbent slabs situated on the upper south facing slope of Sgealtrabhal with far reaching views. The row is orientated north west to south east and leads north westwards from a cairn situated on the summit. A hilltop location is unusual for a stone row.

 

 


 

LAST UPDATED 30th November 2018

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