Islay Standing Stones

Standing Stones in Scotland are dated by archaeologists to the Early Bronze Age (about 2000BC), partly because they are sometimes set up in association with kerb cairns which have been dated to this period. Some standing stones may be from an earlier period, which is the Neolithic period. Standing stones can vary from 1.5 metres to 4 metres tall, and often have two long flat faces, or sides. It is the flat faces which usually indicate the directions to look towards the horizon in order to point out a special point of interest.

Standing stones are usually of local rock, and can vary from squat blocks to tall thin slabs. It is said that these standing stones were used as astronomical markers, battle memorials or route markers. Standing stones are sometimes grouped in a line of two or more, and are then referred to as 'alignments'. Standing stones can be found on Islay as well on several places, and maybe the standing stone at Port Ellen is the largest of them all.

Ballinaby Standing Stone

Ballinaby standing stone(s) (NR220672) are located on the west coast of Islay, north-east of Saligo Bay and can be reached through the gate that leads to Saligo Bay. Follow the track that heads to Smaull farm and take a right at the sign that says "standing stones". Follow the track up hill and you can see the stones in front of you. The second stone, a smaller one, is located a couple of hundred metres behind the tall one to the north-east.

Port Ellen Standing Stone

Standing Stone at Port Ellen. Follow the A846 from Port Ellen to Ardbeg. Just outside Port Ellen take the little road on the left. You will find the stone on your right after a few hundred metres.

Finlaggan Standing Stone

Standing Stone at Finlaggan. Follow the A846 from Bridgend to Port Askaig. Just outside Ballygrant take the little road on the left signposted Finlaggan. Follow the signs and you will find the stone on your left just after the Finlaggan farmhouse.

Claggain Bay Standing Stone

Standing Stone at Claggain Bay. Follow the A846 from Port Ellen to Ardbeg and keep on driving towards Ardtalla passing the Kildalton Cross on the right. Just before you arrive at Claggain Bay look right at the meadow and find the standing stone here.

Scarrabus Standing Stone

Standing Stone at Scarrabus. This standing stone is not marked on the OS Landranger map but is easy to find. When you drive from Bridgend to Port Askaig and pass the sign to Islay House square (left) drive up the hill and pass some houses on your left. One mile further down the road is a road on your left signposted Scarrabus. Follow this road passing some farms until you reach Scarrabus Farm. The road, which is now no more than a track, turns to the right and straight a head is the track and entrance to Scarrabus Farm. A few metres before this point is the standing stone, on your left, a small distance up the hill.

Uiskentuie Standing Stone

Standing Stone at Uiskentuie. Follow the A847 from Bridgend to Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich. As you drive along and pass Islay House follow this road for a few miles untill you reach a narrow passing in the road at the bridge. Here you find the B8017 towards Loch Gruinart. Stay on the A847 for just a few hundred metres and try to park on the left in the grass near the beach. The standing stone is on the other side of the road, not yet visible but if you cross the road and climb up the ancient seacliffs (you are walking on a raised beach now) you can see the standing stone.

Further relevant information:

  • Islay Archaeoastronomy - Standing Stones at Cultoon and Ballinaby
  • Ballinaby and Port Ellen Standing Stones - Which one is taller?
  • Stones of Islay - A Fairy tale

    Islay History | Standing Stones | Finlaggan | Islay Carved Stones | The Campbells | Walter Campbell | John Francis Campbell | Islay Clearances | Leaving Islay | Islay Genealogy | Islay in 1703 | 1869 Baptist Letter | Islay Shipwrecks | Exmouth Tragedy | Troopship Tuscania | Otranto and Tuscania | Dougie MacDougall | Ferry History | Cultoon and Ballinaby | Sunderland Flying Boat Tragedy | Kilchoman Bards


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