Daily Archives: November 12, 2022

Iron and Rock

Archaeologists have identified nineteen megalithic sites in this immediate area and while we haven’t pledged to see them all we do want to visit some of the more important or scenic ones. We’re both fascinated by the urge to erect such monuments, the effort it took, and the locations chosen.

The landscape here, especially under the northern sun, is exhilarating, and at the same time almost soothing. Being able to see long distances, where you can almost perceive the curve of the earth, is always my favorite place to be.

We have a Scottish Islands Passport app that recognizes when we visit a new island. It’s fun to get the ping and a new “stamp,” and for that reason only we drove toward Great Bernera nearby. Little did we know it would involve a sea journey.

“Bridge over the Atlantic” might have been a bit of an exaggeration but it lead to another of the megalithic sites, this one Callanish VIII, which may be our favorite. The view in either direction is breathtaking and the stones themselves are beautiful.

Jack was, as usual, compelled to summit the nearby hill. No matter where we go, no matter how much ibuprofen it takes, he will always get to the top of wherever we are. He’s a High-man.

On the north end of Great Bernera is an Iron Age Village. We assumed this would be a cutesy touristy thingy, but we forgot for a minute that we’re in Scotland and Scots don’t do cutesy. The visit was an enjoyable surprise, and while we only understood about a third of the docent’s strong dialect, she was a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide. The site, like others in coastal Scotland, was uncovered by a violent storm that eroded the beach in the 1990s. The reconstructed house, dating from the Pictish period sometime after 500AD, is a pretty good depiction of what daily life was like.

Back on mainland Harris we visited more Callanish sites. I could post hundreds of great photos but suffice it to say that being in the place, feeling the wind, gazing at the horizon, and appreciating the beauty of each stone from close up and afar are what make the sites worth visiting. These are special places.

Jack playing the Neolithic Witless Bass. I think he’s out of practice. I heard nothing.

We think this is the tallest individual stone we’ve seen in our travels. I keep touching these things but so far time travel has eluded me.


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