special places – 2

Orkney. Not the whole place – just one little bit of the mainland. The stones at Stenness.

the stones

Part of the moment was the blue of the sky, the green of the field and the cloud formations. Wispy clouds mostly, but billowing around the hill behind the field.

Maybe I’m getting spiritual and “deep” as I mature, but I do find neolithic sites like this one to be uplifting. I don’t mean any old ruin, or even a renowned settlement like Scara Brae. They’re fine, and worth seeing.

But to see these huge stones erected in a field for no practical purpose 3000 years ago, at a time when survival was a full time occupation – I find that wondrous. When I use the expression “full time” I don’t mean 35 hours a week. I mean all day every day, with no breaks. And however fertile the Orkney mainland is, it is not a bountiful tropical paradise. Life would have been very tough, and short. An injury or illness – a tooth abscess for example – could be fatal.

Yet still these people took the time and found the resources to create such amazing structures.

I stood and looked at the stones for ages. They are huge. How did the people transport them to the site? How did they erect them? The lines are very straight – how were they able to cut them so accurately?

this shot gives scale

Well, that’s enough spirituality for now. You get the idea.

© iain taylor 2011

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