Standing Stones - Ring of Brodgar

Ring of Brodgar on Isle of Orkney in Scotland is a wonderful standing stone circle. This area is called the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" and has been designated a World Heritage Site. The sites surrounding the Ness of Brodgar contains a concentration of Stone Age ceremonial monuments. The main site we visited here was the Ring o' Brodgar, an impressive standing stone circle on a thin strip of land between Loch of Harray and Loch of Stenness. We walked around inside the stone circle while our specialist guide told us all about it.

The Ring of Brodgar seen from a distance.

Lichens grow on the stones.
The Ring of Brodgar (the "d" is almost silent when the word is pronounced) is thought to date back to around 2500 BC to 2000 BC. It is a true circle with a diameter of 340 feet and originally contained 60 megaliths. Only 27 of these remain standing today. They vary in height from 7 feet to just over 15 feet. Experts believe the Ring of Brodgar was part of an enormous prehistoric ritual complex that incorporated several other stone circles and solitary standing stones, some a mile or more away. This area has a large amount of archaeological remains including early burial sites and mounds. They are believed to have been important in the people's religion, ceremonies and relate to astrological alignments, such as the setting sun at Winter Solstice, much like Stonehenge.

Viking runes "graffiti" was carved on one of the stones and dates to around 1100 or 1200 AD. It is believed to be the name Bjorn. As in... Bjorn was here.

Notice the mound near the loch? It is called Salt Knowe and is thought to date from 2500 BC to 1500 BC. It is 131 feet by 108 feet and rises 19.6 feet high. Experts can only theorize as to its original purpose. It was examined and found to contain nothing more than a pile of stones. But it obviously held important significance to those who built it.

Here you see one of the stones, which was originally standing, lies on the ground and the path leads over it. Two stones stand in the background, and a massive ditch and bank or henge that was originally dug deeper lies beyond. This henge surrounds the stone circle. In the far background, you can see one of the mounds which was important to the Neolithic people.

We drove past the Standing Stones of Stenness (photo above) a mile away. These stones are taller than those at Brodgar, some standing up to 19 feet high. Only 4 of the original 12 stones remain standing. This site is believed to date from 3100 BC. The stones were almost destroyed by a farmer in 1814 who was fed up with all the tourists treading over his land and tired of plowing around the massive stones. He turned them over and began breaking them up. Odin's Stone was one of the more important ones, which was finally smashed to dust. After a public outcry and involvement of the authorities, the farmer was forced to stop his destruction and these few stones have been preserved.

Why am I talking so much about standing stones?

Each story in Kissing the Highlander features a standing stone circle in some way. I have a story in this anthology, along with  bestselling authors Terry Spear, Eliza Knight, Willa Blair and Victoria Roberts. My story is titled My Captive Highlander.

Can unexpected passion and a little ancient magic turn enemies into lovers? 

During a fierce storm on the west coast of Scotland, Shamus MacKenzie barely survives a galley wreck only to be captured and held for ransom by the enemy MacDonalds. Aided by the gift of second sight, Maili MacDonald, sister of the ruthless chief, senses the handsome, dark-haired stranger will somehow be important in her life. Compelled to help him, she insists on providing him food and a healer to see to his injuries. She knows she is daft to fall in love with this captivating warrior after one forbidden kiss but cannot help herself. With each visit from Maili, Shamus finds his thoughts consumed by the enchanting lass. Can he convince her to help him escape the dungeon and prevent the impending battle between the two clans?

Kissing the Highlander is available for preorder at:

My Wild Highlander has just been released in audio book! Here is a five minute sample.

My Wild Highlander audiobook is available at:



Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous photos, Vonda. I love the one standing tall with wild flowers in the grass around it. Like I say every time you post your amazing photos, you have a great gift at taking photos. Loved them all.

We did get to see some stone circles near Stonehaven and it was quite an eye opener. It is hard to believe so many years had lapsed since they'd been put there.

Hugs! and thank you!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Paisley, thank you so much!! I truly enjoy taking photos and also love visiting stone circles. They're fascinating sites. Glad you got to visit one!

Gwyn Brodie said...

Great photos, Vonda! Brings back lots of fond memories for me!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks, Gwyn! I agree. Great memories there.

BBT said...

A very interesting article on the standing stones. I saw some of the smaller henges last summer.