Standing Stones

09 Nov

Standing Stones in their most basic form like the one I have recently planted in our garden here at Bardrishaig on the Isle of Luing – can be a timepiece.


When the vertical straight edge of my stone lines up with a mark on the horizontal stone placed behind it I know it’s time for my noon day cuppa. The downside being – if the sun don’t shine I go thirsty.

I found the long flat stone laying in the weeds by the old – roofless – nearby bothy when I was imitating a Berserker with my new Honda Brushcutter chopping down bracken – brambles – nettles and anything fool enough to stand in my way. It certainly showed my shiny new Honda a thing or two as the sparks flew.

My interest in the Standing Stones of Cairn Holy – just a few miles down the A75 from my previous home – had me thinking – ‘if Ancient Man can do it so can I’ and it would be something to ‘plant’ in that slate bedrock that’s covered by a few milimetres of light soil at the top of the garden. Who knows – it might even multiply in years to come 🙂

I like it —


But it’s not a patch on the real thing at Cairn Holy which even have a tenuous straight line connection with something similar left behind by the old people on the Isle of Man just twenty odd miles away across the Irish Sea.

OK – here we go – from my simple standing stone to the complicated workings of the Standing Stones of Cairn Holy – from four thousand years before the Swiss started making watches.


Next Friday 22nd October will be the autumn equinox and a good time to go look at the heap of stones called Cairn Holy not too far from here.

I say ‘heap of stones’ but that’s hardly fair —

stone clock July 075

These stones were assembled by man about four thousand years ago and prove that someone back then had a good knowledge of time and how to measure it. They may look like a random collection but in fact when the sun shines – particularly at any one of the four equinox we have each year – various features of the stones come into play —

stone clock July 043

It’s really the shadows cast by the stones that do the work which makes the whole subject all the more of a mystery.

It’s a fact that the stones were put in place with marks and indentations that throw shadows one to the other in perfect timing which to this day equate to within 14 seconds of our own clocks and calenders. They were then covered over and formed burial mounds. Somewhere along the line they were uncovered and left as they are today for all the world to see.

It sure is a puzzle but I have a theory that there was one opening left in the mound that would allow a direct shaft of sunlight to penetrate all the way to the central tomb at noon on a certain equinox but how do I prove it?

The old people certainly had the knowledge to do it and if anyone can solve the mysteries of Cairn Holy it will be my New Yorker friend Joseph. He stumbled across the stones while making his way back to Heathrow to catch a flight for the US after a visit to Ireland to observe well documented standing stones there.

He never did make it back to New York – but rented a nearby apartment and he is still at the stones today four years later. Measuring – data-logging – photographing – you name it he is doing it. The collection of stones at Cairn Holy has become his obsession and I look forward to reading his book on the subject when it is eventually published.

Joseph Prosecour from New York – get your book about the mysteries of Cairn Holy into print soon. Hell – even I have beaten you to it with my burble on my blog about the Standing Stone of Bardrishaig 🙂

Quick Edit – 9/11/2016.

Standing Stones – you don’t have to be a Druid to have your very own.


As well as being a functioning timepiece when the sun shines mine has the added bonus of being one thing I plant in the garden that the bloody roe deer won’t eat 🙂



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Posted by on November 9, 2016 in Isle of Luing, out and about


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