Today, the thaw has at long last set in with temperature creeping above zero for the first time in ages. That is the good news. The downside is (a) grey and overcast weather, obvioulsy  not conducive to photography, and (b) a domestic crisis in the form of burst water pipes consequent upon the thaw.

This evening, I have decided to depart from topical matters to a quick overview of one of my key interests, namely prehistory as manifested in stone circles of which Scotland is home to at least 142.

Stone circles are unique to the British Isles and France, totalling about 390. We do not know for certain why they were built although latest thinking is for some sort of quasi-religious function providing a link between this world and the next together with a possible astronomical use. Many are close to or in sight of water.

I hold the builders of these constructions in great awe. The Stone Age was just that, with no modern tools. However, there must have an organised social structure able to harness, motivate and manage the large workforces necessary to locate, move and shape the heavy stones all at a time when people lived day-to-day in close harmony with the environment.  The circles and related structures were built from around 4000BC to 1000BC. Below is a selection of images and videos from my tours.

This image shows Croft Moraig in Perthshire which is easily accessible. The first phase of this circles dates from 3000BC.

Croft Moraig

Crof Moraig, Perthshire

This is Temple Wood located in Kilmartin Glen.This site has its origins in the early fourth millennim BC.

Templewood, Kilmartin Glen

Templewood

Below is Callanish, on the Isle of Lewis, possibly the most impressive circle in Scotland. This comprises a dimunitive stone circle, a central stone, an avenue, three rows and a chambered cairn.The comp;ex dates from around 2200BC.

Callanish Stone Circle

Callanish Stones, Lewis

Here is one of the circles in the Machrie Moor complex on the Isle of Arran and may date from around 2000BC.

Machrie Moor, Arran

Machrie Moor Stone Circle

Here are some relevant video clips.

Steinacleit Stone Circle, Isle of Lewis

Callanish Stone Circle, Isle of Lewis

Clava Cairns

During 2011 I am sure to visit various stone circles in course of my private tours.

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