While we have many impressive stones and rocks here in Arizona, I’d never seen anything like the ancient standing stones in the United Kingdom. In fact, I admit I didn’t know much about them until we visited the sites in Orkney.
The Ring of Brodgar is the largest stone circle in Scotland. It’s thought to have once had sixty stones, but now has less than thirty standing (although it appears there are a number of partial stones still in position). They stand out in the landscape; I believe one or two were once struck by lightning. The stones very in height, but the tallest is about fifteen feet.
One of the stones is off on its own a few hundred feet from the others, and it caught David’s eye before I noticed it. We hiked out to take a look, and I found out later that it’s called the Comet Stone.
Lichen is also one of those things I’d never noticed here in Arizona―although it appears that ASU has a lichen herbarium, go figure―but lichen was all over the place in Scotland, as well as on the stones in the Ring of Brodgar.
About a mile from the Ring of Brodgar are the Standing Stones of Stenness, which are much taller but fewer in number.
There is such a feeling of mystery and history at these sites. I hear Stonehenge is impressive too, but I don’t believe you can touch the stones. Here in Orkney, you can quite nearly touch time. During the windy day we went, we had missed the tourist crowd and had little company beyond the stones; it really was wonderful.
You can see from the photos that the weather shifted around a bit in the few hours that we walked amongst the stones. However, it never rained while we were in Orkney, nor during the previous week when we were in Glasgow and Edinburgh. In fact, we only got rain on the drive to the airport as we headed home―which was nice, since we get so little rain in Phoenix.
I’ll share more photos from Orkney soon!
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