Standing Stones in Orkney

Ring of Brodgar by David Gadient, 2016

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.

Ring of Brodgar by David Gadient, 2016

Ring of Brodgar by David Gadient, 2016

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.

Comet Stone by David Gadient, 2016

Lichen is also one of those things I’d never noticed here in Arizonaโ€•although it appears that ASU has a lichen herbarium, go figureโ€•but lichen was all over the place in Scotland, as well as on the stones in the Ring of Brodgar.

Lichen by David Gadient, 2016

About a mile from the Ring of Brodgar are the Standing Stones of Stenness, which are much taller but fewer in number.

Standing Stones of Stenness by David Gadient, 2016

Standing Stones of Stenness by Karen Gadient, 2016

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 homeโ€•which was nice, since we get so little rain in Phoenix.

I’ll share more photos from Orkney soon!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral
Skara Brae


Filed under History, Holiday, Landscape, Life, Nature, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

22 responses to “Standing Stones in Orkney

  1. I am really enjoying your trip to Scotland, Karen!

  2. Being there would like standing above the Grand Canyon and watching it form…only here there were actual human beings that created these rings and formations with rock. The work alone must have taken a long time and yet the focus was maintained through to completion. Your photographs transported me to the UK to share your experience…thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. sueashby7

    I love these places, the standing stones are so amazing. It was a beautiful bit of work placing them. They are odd, but interesting, and I bet those vibes really are great. I love lichen, it’s one of nature’s best works of art. Thank you so much, I love this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I would like to see the ones in Arizona…

  5. My brother is at the Grand Canyon this week, he was terrified of the rock squirrels lol. Great photos of the stones.

  6. wonderful holiday images
    and words bringing ancient
    ancestors into this moment, Karen ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I like these beautiful places and the photos are really nice! Bye. Kamila

  8. If only stones could speak…the stories they would tell!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have visited Stonehenge back in the 80’s. I was surprised I didn’t find it impressive at all, it seemed a lot smaller than I imagined and left me wondering why people are so fascinated by it. Plus you couldn’t get near the stones, they’d fenced them off, for fear of people wearing away the stones with touch! I get more impressed with old buildings because of the creative and physical effort put into those designs. This does look very atmospheric though. A little bit of misty fog – ooooh quite a different story!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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