If you are a fan of Outlander, and I am not ashamed to say that I love the books since my early 20s, you know about the standing stones. They are basically the main feature of the whole Outlander plot. So I was excited when I discovered that Orkney has its own stone circle I was totally excited. Because the one from the show, Craigh na Dun, doesn’t exist in real life. But Orkney not only has a stone circle, it has also has the Standing Stones of Stennes. These are basically the standing rest of a former stone circle.
The Standing Stones as well as following Ring of Brodgar are from the Neolithic area. They would have fit in the post about all the Neolithic stuff on Orkney. But I really feel that Standing Stones are something special and therefore deserve a separate post.
But let’s get back to the Standing Stones of Stenness. These stones have always been an attraction to visitors. Even Sir Walter Scott came to see them in 1814. A totally attraction in Captain W. Mackay’s eyes. He owned the neighboring fields and was only a recent immigrant to Orkney. Maybe that’s why he had no conception of the meaning of these stones. One of them, a large standing stone with a hole, was called Odin’s Stone.
The locals used it to swear oaths, pledge their engagement by holding hands through the hole, and so on. Odin’s Stone had magical powers. But not enough to ward off an attack by Captain Mackay. So incensed was he by the constant visitors and trespassing on his fields, that in December of 1814 he smashed Odin’s Stone plus another and managed to topple one over. So that was it with the circle. What you can see today is still breathtaking. At least in my opinion.
Just a couple of meters ahead on the other side of the road is the Ring of Brodgar. This stone circle is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, the others are the Standing Stones of Stenness, Maeshowe, and Skara Brae. We parked the car at the wrong side and at the wrong place, but seeing the circle from the road up ahead, we just wanted to get to it. Doesn’t it look magnificent?
Getting closer only increased the beauty of the stone circle. The different colors of the undergrowth and the volume of still standing stones are absolutely stunning. As is the ever changing sky in Scotland.
These Neolithic standing stones are not only for fans of Outlander but for everyone who is a little bit interested in history. They are so much more than just stones, but actually proof a sophisticated society 5000 years ago. Which is pretty much amazing, isn’t it? Yours, Pollybert