Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Callanish Satellites

Callanish, on Lewis/Harris, is another of those great megalithic centers, one or more main sites, many "satellite" sites, sometimes only hundreds of yards away, still being discovered and interpreted. Callanish had a long neolithic history but its builders seem mostly to have had lunar interests. All this c. 5,000 years old.

September 18 we awoke early. Our return reservation was for the 4PM sailing in the afternoon, but we were wait-listed for the Saturday sailing. They don't sail on Sunday. (This is a very Puritan sort-of place; the Sabbath is really, really sacred; seriously: fishing licenses do not permit Sunday fishing). So it was see Lewis/Harris in a day, or in three days. We drove north and then west, hurriedly, out to Callanish, our principal destination, and the Stones of Callanish there.

Central and southern Lewis/Harris is mountainous, but the northern part, where we were, is merely hilly and moorish, hundreds of miles of rock and heather and consequent thousands of years of peat bog, everything either Lewissian schist, beautiful striated and swirly rock, or squishy and spongy and purple, but also wind-blown, cold, and, in the larger view, pretty desolate. How many synonyms are there for “bleak”? There are some few trees down in Stormayer, mostly at its castle and grounds, the lord's former deer park, but none else on the island except for an up-start commercial conifer forest or two. And associated clear-cuts. As in Ireland and Denmark, and Orkney, everything was de-forested thousands of years ago. As Jared Diamond wondered about Easter Island, one wonders here, too, what were they thinking when they chopped down the very last tree?

Ceann Hulavig, about 2 miles from the main Callanish site

Vicki at Cnoc Ceann a'Gharraidh

Cnoc Fillibhear Bheag

Interesting stile joining the latter two properties...at the bottom, neolithic builders

No comments: