Standing Stones of Callanish, Scotland

Standing stones of Callanish in Scotland

The Standing Stones of Callanish are located on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.  They are the second largest stone circle in Britain.

   The Standing Stones of Callanish are composed of a circle of 13 stones with an additional stone and also the tallest stone in the middle, standing at 4.75 meters tall.  Four uncompleted avenues made up of smaller stones lead up to the standing stone circle. Standing Stones of CallanishWhat exactly the standing stones represent remains a mystery even today.  We do know that the tallest stone marks the entrance to a burial which was found, so perhaps the Standing Stones of Callanish were set up as a place of devotion?  Other experts argue that the stones represent a calendar system based on the moon.  Or my favorite, if you believe local tradition, that the stones are the bodies of giants that lived on the Isle of Lewis who refused to convert to Christianity and were therefore  turned to stone as punishment.

Some say the Standing Stones of Callanish are very powerful.  I didn’t know what this meant, but I also didn’t wish to test the powers that be either, and so I was on my best behavior while visiting the Standing Stones of Callanish.  At least I didn’t get turned into stone.


Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.



  1. Leigh May 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    You’ve been to the Outer Hebrides! I’m going with the Christianity theory. What a rugged windswept place to visit.

  2. Laurel May 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    @Leigh – I was there while doing volunteer research on whales and dolphins, mainly in the Outer Hebrides, one of my favorite trips of all times. I like the Christianity theory as well. The Outer Hebrides are one of the most beautiful remote places I’ve ever visited.

  3. Debbie Beardsley May 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    These pictures remind me of Stonehenge. I don’t know if anyone will ever know what these “stones” represent. They are interesting though 🙂

    • Grace May 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm - Reply

      Yes they do look like a smaller version of it! It’s one of those mysteries that I actually want to be unsolved. It makes it more exciting for the imagination to speculate about the meaning of these stones.

  4. Laurel May 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    I haven’t been to Stonehenge, but that’s what the Standing Stones reminded me of as well, just through pictures I’ve seen.

  5. Cathy Sweeney May 6, 2011 at 3:40 am - Reply

    I’d love to see these stones. I’m fascinated by mysteries like this. I’ve been to Stonehenge — awesome feeling while there (luckily, I was there on a day when there were relatively few tourists). You really got a couple of very nice shots that evoke that mysterious feeling.

  6. Michael Figueiredo May 6, 2011 at 4:13 am - Reply

    Great photos! It’s funny how Stonehenge is so famous, but there are several other equally intriguing stone circles in Britain. I hope to see some for myself someday!

  7. Muza-chan May 6, 2011 at 6:10 am - Reply

    What a beautiful place to visit. Thank you 🙂

  8. Jeremy B May 6, 2011 at 6:34 am - Reply

    I just finished reading a guidebook on England and Scotland and don’t remember seeing this at all. I should go back and see if I can find this. These stone circles, their size, and the mysteries that go with them are intriguing.

  9. Sensibletraveler May 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    It does look like Stonehenge, but with a much prettier backdrop.

  10. Zhu May 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    I visited a similar place in Carnac, in Brittany. Strange atmosphere there… very mystic. Of course, the locals have many “interesting” explanations about the stones! 🙂

  11. Roy | cruisesurfingz May 7, 2011 at 3:16 am - Reply

    Wow, looks like Stonehedge!

  12. Arti May 7, 2011 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Very interesting stones! But what is more Interesting are the stories behind them! Loved the posting and the pics too!

  13. robin May 7, 2011 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Very eery and reminiscent of some Irish antiquities.

  14. Chris May 10, 2011 at 4:16 am - Reply

    What a place. Is it just me, or do a few of the stones look a LOT like people in profile….?

  15. Spencer May 12, 2011 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Your post illustrates well why I love Scotland so much. It really is beautiful!

  16. Kim February 21, 2013 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    I know folklore isn’t supposed to be believable but it should at least make a stab at making sense. How could they be Giants turned to stone for refusing to convert to Christianity since they have been there 2000-3000 years BEFORE Christianity existed? Just wondering! 🙂

    • Laurel February 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      @Kim – Excellent points! 🙂

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