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The Ring of Brodgar - Mainland, Orkney
Stone Circle
National Grid Reference: HY 294 134

show a map

How To Get There

The Ring Of Brodgar is set on a narrow strip of land called the Ness of Brodgar which lies between the Loch of Stenness and the Loch of Harray on the Orkney Mainland. Heading North from Stromness follow the A965 through Stenness Village. Take a left turn onto the B9055 (the site is signposted) and follow this North for about a mile. The circle is on the left of the road with a parking area to the right of the road.

The narrow strip of land which separates the Loch of Stenness from the Loch of Harray appears to have been highly important to the prehistoric inhabitants of these islands. Here they built not only the Ring of Brodgar but also the striking Stones of Stenness, a settlement at Barnhouse and the Ring of Bookan.

Our first visit to the circle took place on the same generally miserable day (as far as the weather went that is) as the trips to Maes Howe and Skara Brae. We were back again later in the week when we got the closest to having a spectacular sunset. In the process of trying to get into position before the sun completely vanished I managed to slip in the mud and was left limping whilst Linda ran around with the camera and managed to take the photograph at the top of the page. Just my luck!

It is thought that there were originally around 60 stones here, set in a circle of some 104 meters in diameter, making Brodgar one of the largest stone circles in Britain. The circle is enclosed by a ditch of 142 meters in diameter. 27 stones now remain within the henge with an outlier known as the Comet Stone to the ESE of the monument. There may well have been an avenue of stones leading all the way from Brodgar to the Stones of Stenness around a mile away to the SE. There is no firm dating evidence for the circle but it has been estimated that it was built between 3000 and 2500 BC

The stone shown in the picture to the left was quite recently damaged by lightning. Given that Orcadians seem to have respected their ancient monuments on the whole over the years, it's quite likely that more of the missing stones fell victim to a similar fate. The same does not seem to hold true of the Stones of Stenness just down the road.

The site is surrounded by cairns and there are excellent views of both lochs. If the Orkney winds let up for a few minutes then this can be a very peaceful spot.

 

 

 

 

Nearby Sites

Stones of Stenness
Barnhouse
Watchstone

Related Sites

Notes

 

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This prehistoric site has been rescued for historical reasons by History X's archive