The Western Isles’ top tourist attraction is in a muddy mess after recent drainage
Visitors to the world famous Callanish Standing Stones are asked not to walk around
them until the issue is fixed.
Tens of thousands of people tour the historical wonders annually which were erected
around 5,000 years ago and are one of Scotland’s best-preserved Neolithic monuments.
One tourist, Ken Stewart, was not impressed when he went to view the giant megaliths
- next in importance to Stonehenge.
The independent mainland-based amateur photographer said: “Contractors have been
working on clearing drainage at the Calanais main site but to be honest with you
they have left it in a less than salubrious condition.
“I enquired in the visitors centre and apparently they have been clearing blocked
drainage and as part of their back-filling they just replaced soft earth and sowed
grass seed rather than covering with turf
“The result is an awful sodden mess.”
Government agency, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which manages the historic
site, said increasing number of visitors, more rainfall plus blocked drains forced
the ground around the centre stones to be dug up.
A HES spokesman said the existing drainage system was blocked with soil.
He added: “The works involved upgrading and modernising this drainage system to deliver
more effective drainage in future.”
At the same time, “the ground at the centre ring of the monument had eroded through
higher than usual rainfall, combined with increasingly high footfall at the site.
“Topsoil was spread to replace what has been lost to erosion and to protect the underlying
stones, however heavy rainfall has affected the repaired area.”
The works should be finished by Easter, weather permitting.
The spokesman warned: “We have also cordoned off the immediate area around the stones
to visitors in the short term and would ask if they can please refrain from walking
on this area in the interim while it repairs.”
He added: “We hope that over the next few days, the weather will improve sufficiently
to allow the topsoil to dry to an acceptable level so that the works can continue.”
HES intends to lay locally sourced turf and grass seed to finish off the works which
will require a short period of time to bed in.