Fast Facts

  • Location: Southwest of Loch openness in Orkney
  • Attraction Type: Historical place
  • Significance: Monolithic rocks survived for the last 5000 years
  • Best Time to Visit: All through the year
  • Visiting Hours: Daytime
  • How to Reach: By ferry or chartered boat from Kirkwall, Tingwall, Houston, and Stromness; alternatively taxis or rented cars might be used
  • Nearest International Airport: Palermo International Airport

Standing Stones of Stenness located in the southwestern portion of Loch openness in Scotland is referred to as ‘Circle of Loda’. The four standing megaliths with a stump are the remains of a Neolithic monument consisting of twelve such rocks dating back to around 3000 BC. ‘Stenness’ is derived from an Old Norse word meaning ‘stone headland’.

These twelve stones were arranged in the form of an ellipse, surrounded by an earth bank of the approximate diameter of 44 meters. A ditch of depth 2 meters and width 7 meters was cut along the earth embankment. At the center of this stone ring lies a stone hearth built of four large slabs. Near the hearth two angular slabs with a prone stone complete the arrangement. Animal bones from this ditch and cremated human bone pieces, pottery and charcoal from the circle platform have been excavated. The four megaliths are about one foot thick and about 16 feet in height.

The most famous of these Stenness Stones was the Odin Stone and Watch Stone. The Odin Stone had a circular perforation at its base which supposedly had magical powers. Couples pledging to stay together held their hands through this gap to remain together till their end. Captain Mackay who bought land near these monoliths felt so irritated because of visitors intruding into his land, that he smashed the Odin Stone. Toppled in December 1814, Odin Stone was re-erected in 1906. Watch Stone located a little to the north with a height of about 20 feet towered over the other monoliths.

New Year picnics are common in this site. Often referred to as ‘temple of the moon’, this place is still frequented by lovers and couples for pledging themselves. The Standing Stones of Stenness are best viewed during sunrise and sundown.

Accommodation and Dining
While visiting Standing Stones of Stenness you could accommodate yourself into the hotels of Orkney. Houston Bay Lodge, Lynnfield Hotel, Orkney Hotel, Woodwick Hotel, and Ayre Hotel are some of the notable places to put up.

Your culinary demands are taken care of in the different restaurants of Orkney city. The Smithy Restaurant serves delectable seafood and local delicacies. For authentic Indian cuisine, Dil Se is the perfect place. For delicious salads, light lunch, snacks, and hot beverages Birsay Bay Tearoom is the ideal place.

Related Links : For a nice historical account of the Standing Stones of Stenness, click on this link!

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