Trakai Castle – Lithuania – 1

Reached via two walkways across Lake Galve the island castle of Trakai is the greatest symbol of Lithuanian nationalism. Situated in an area of lakes and forests roughly 15 miles west of Vilnius, the red-brick turrets, watchtowers, and tall keep were restored in 1962 by the Lithuanian government much to the chagrin of then SovietContinue reading “Trakai Castle – Lithuania – 1”

Malta – 1

The Republic of Malta consists of two main islands, Malta and Gozo, with a third, much smaller island called Comino lying between the two larger islands. This small nation of 122 square miles stands at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea roughly halfway between the Italian mainland and North Africa. Here, around 3600BC, the megalithicContinue reading “Malta – 1”

Callanish – 4

In his 1726 work on the druids, John Toland specifically identified Diodorus Siculus’ Hyperborea with Lewis, and the “spherical temple” mentioned by Diodorus with the Callanish Stones. Diodorus was a first century BC Greek historian, best known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC. AContinue reading “Callanish – 4”

Callanish – 3

The stones of the eastern side of the avenue have only three-quarters of the height of the stones on the western side. When I saw this, I wondered whether this was deliberate or just accidental – why would these details be important to the people who created the site? Do we try and provide explanationsContinue reading “Callanish – 3”

Dun Carloway – 3

A path leads up the hillside, giving views of the broch and the surrounding countryside. The side facing you is built above steep rock, and most of it remains as originally designed. As you round the broch to the entrance, on the north side, you are presented with a different picture. From here you canContinue reading “Dun Carloway – 3”

Dun Carloway Broch – 2

The broch is next mentioned in a report by the local Minister in 1797. By this time, brochs were believed to be watchtowers used as defense against, or by, Vikings. Dun Carloway featured prominently in reports on Western Isles brochs in the latter part of the 1800s, and as a result it was one ofContinue reading “Dun Carloway Broch – 2”

Callanish Stone Circle – 2

The 6.4 metre long chambered tomb, in the central part of the circle, was almost certainly added after the circle was set up and was used for many centuries, as not only local pottery was found, but also Beaker vessels dating from 2000BC. The central monolith stands 0.8 metres west of the true centre ofContinue reading “Callanish Stone Circle – 2”

Fruit Falcon – 3

The other favourite fruit of this falcon is known as five-finger on St Lucia. Alternative names include Starfruit and Carambola. The falcon hovers near the yellow Carambola and picks the fruit of the tree with its beak. It flies to the ground and eats the whole fruit, which has a tart taste and is aContinue reading “Fruit Falcon – 3”

Callanish Stones – 1

After I visit places such as Callanish I am always bewildered, as I am sure that I can’t satisfactorily answer any of the obvious questions – why was it built, how was it built, who built it, what was the reason for building it here rather than on any other hillock in the area? EvenContinue reading “Callanish Stones – 1”

Dun Carloway Broch, Isle of Lewis, Scotland – 1

Dun Carloway, or Dun Charlabhaigh, is a remarkably well preserved broch in a stunning location overlooking Loch Roag on the west coast of Lewis. Dun Carloway was probably built some time in the last century BC. It would have served as an occasionally defensible residence for an extended family complete with accommodation for animals atContinue reading “Dun Carloway Broch, Isle of Lewis, Scotland – 1”