Standing Stones, Orkney

On this Summer Solstice I thought I would do a post about the Neolithic stones we recently visited on Orkney.

The Standing Stones of Stenness are well worth going to see although it can get a bit busy. We were lucky, there weren’t too many people around and we did get them to ourselves for a wee while. You can see the Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe from this location, and when you go for a walk around you are literally tripping over settlements which haven’t been excavated yet, there are just too many of them around and presumably not enough resources to start digs.

Stones of Stenness Information Board

This area was well populated 5,000 years BC, in fact Orkney was the centre of the Neolithic world apparently! Unfortunately I didn’t notice the electricity pylon sticking above one of the stones in the photo below.

Standing Stones on Orkney

It’s a great location near the banks of the sea loch the Loch of Stenness and the freshwater Loch of Harray.
Stones of Stenness

Just to give you an idea of how big the stones are, below is a photo of me beside one, somewhat windswept!
Stone of Stenness and me

Balbirnie Stone Circle, Fife

standing stones

The photo above is of the standing stones at Balbirnie, it’s a Neolithic site, dating from around 3,000 BC. I’ve only seen these stones once before, and that must have been about 30 years ago, I remember at the time that I was really disappointed to read that they had been relocated by Historic Scotland, apparently they were in the way of a road which needed to be widened.

standing stones

It seems a very strange thing to do, surely stone circles were carefully positioned for a good reason, we don’t know what it was but to me it’s crazy to move them. It takes all the romance away somehow.

standing stones

As you can see, houses have been built very close to the stones. I must admit that it gives me a bit of a kick to think that there were people farming 5,000 years ago in the area we now live in. I doubt if they were very much different from us.

You can read more about the Balbirnie Stone Circle here.