Struan Lodge Beauly
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Loch Roag in Lewis
On a ridge overlooking Loch Roag in Lewis, not far from the village of Callanish, holiday accommodation scotland, stands one of the greatest prehistoric monuments in Europe, the Stones of Callanish. These impressive megaliths, rivals to Stonehenge, are believed to date from t here or four thousand years ago when they were built by the pre-Celtic, Neolithic (New Stone Age) inhabitants of the island.
The Stones, often known as Na Fir Bhrèige – the False Men – number more than fifty, and form a cross shape from North to South, holiday accommodation scotland 400 feet long by 150 feet wide. Several other circles exist within three miles of Callanish. The stones vary in height from 3.5 to 15.5 feet and are arranged in a central circle with five lines of stones radiating outwards, two of which form an avenue to the central circle. Inside the circle is a tall central pillar which is believed to have been used in human sacrifice during ancient religious ceremonies. Others assert that the site was a burial ground, and archaeologists have discovered the remains of a burial chamber within the circle, containing evidence of cremation.
Extensive research has been carried out to explore the theory that the monument’s original function was as an astronomical observatory to allow the movement of sun, moon and stars to be studied. Evidence for this has been found in the Stones’ remarkably accurate alignment. The real purpose of the Stones, however, is still subject of controversy after more than a century of research.
The enigma of the stones of Callanish continues to perplex and fascinate scholars, and their mystic beauty attracts large numbers of sightseers every year. Now visitors can even enjoy a cup of tea in the nearby restored black-house while they shelter a while from the chilling Lewis wind.
The annual National Mòd, which in 1992 received the accolade of Royal Status, is Scotland’s major festival of the Gaelic arts, where hundreds of competitors try themselves out in over 130 competitions. The musical competitions range from solo voice, part-singing and choral music, to instrumental music on pipe, fiddle, clarsach, piano or accordion. There are also competitions for folk groups. Gaelic Literary competitions include recitation, drama and composition of prose and poetry.
The Mòd was conceived over one hundred years ago by Ann Comunn Gàidhealach – the Highland Association. An Comunn was founded in 1891 by a small core of Gaelic devotees who were deeply concerned for the future of the language and realized the need for a formal body to restore some of the confidence eroded by centuries of hardship and oppression. An Comunn’s early aim was to promote and preserve Gaelic in the arts, in local industry and especially in education and it adopted as its motto: Ar Cànain ‘s Ar Ceòl – Our Language and our Music.
An Comunn’s first project was to launch a national festival modelled on the thriving Welsh ‘Eisteddfod’. The first Mòd offered 10 competitions and lasted only one day, but that has grown over a century into the major national event that we know today, complete with an extensive fringe of ceilidhs and concerts by Gaelic personalities and musicians as well as a network of smaller ‘local’ mòds throughout the country.
The Mòd takes place at a different venue each year. Oban, which hosted the very first Mòd, has been the most popular rendezvous, closely followed by Glasgow. All of Scotland’s major towns have played host at some time, including Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness in the East, and Stornoway and Dunoon in the West. Upcoming Mòds will be in Dunoon, Paisley, and Inverness, before returning once again to Oban.