Introduction

On the island of Orkney lies one of Scotland's most inspiring megalithic monuments. Between the Lochs of Harray and Stenness on a narrow strip of land is the Ring of Brodgar. It is a stone circle with a nearby lone standing stone - known as the Comet Stone.

Features

The circle of 27 stones (originally 60), has a diameter of around 100 metres. There is an accompanying ditch, nine metres across and three metres deep, cut from the bedrock. After four or five thousand years of erosion, the stones now stand between two and 4.5 metres high. The site is estimated to have been constructed between 3000 and 2000BC.

There are 13 burial mounds so far discovered around the area - having been built much later, around 2500 to 1500BC. Only four of these are large enough to be easily spotted.

The site is easily accessible from the road, and has no charge for visiting at the time of writing.

Mythology

The story behind the circle is that the stones are petrified giants. They were wandering through the area one night, and when they reached the point between the two lochs, decided to dance.

A fiddler amongst them began to play, and the giants held hands, forming a huge circle. They danced throughout the night, and were so carried away that they didn't realise the sun was rising.

No sooner did the sunlight hit them, than they all turned into stone. The circle is formed by the dancers, and the nearby Comet Stone is supposed to be the fiddler.

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Sources:
http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~aburnham/scot/brog.htm
http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/brodgar/index.html
http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/giants/brognt.htm

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