Wednesday, 16 December 2009
The Stones of Stenness
In the summer we spent a week in Orkney. It turned out to be a wet and windy week so we didnt't do as much sea kayaking as we had hoped. We more than made up for it in exploring Orkney's fabulous ancient monuments.
We were utterly blown away by the standing stones, stone circles and remains. Set in the stark yet very green Orkney landscape, they retain a powerful and emotive presence. This is one of the Stones of Stenness. A blade of rock transported and raised at great effort. It and it's companions dominate the narrow neck of land between Lochs Harray and Stenness
The stones seem to have been placed where they would be visible to all the inhabitants of an area. From Stenness one can see the chambered tomb at Maes Howe and several other stone circles and monument sites.
The great majority of the stones have a sloping top, and the slope is almost always in the same direction. This seems to mirror the slope angle and orientation of the Ward Hill on Hoy; which is visble from all of the stones. It can surely be no coincidence that the midwinter sun sets behind this end of the Ward Hill - the winter solstice was one of the most momentous times of the ancient year.