Muddy work on the go at Callanish site

The Callanish Stones have been one of the main tourist draws to the Isle of Lewis since their discovery.

Tens of thousands of tourists visit the site and its centre each year. However recent work at the stones have left them less scenic than normal.

Reader Ken Stewart, passed on this image to the Gazette, saying: “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 have just replaced soft earth and sowed grass seed, rather than covering with turf, the result is an awful sodden mess.”

Explaining the work Historic Environment Scotland, who manage the site, said: “A drainage system that had previously been laid to remove excess water from the site had become blocked with soil and detritus over time. The works involved upgrading and modernising this drainage system to deliver more effective drainage in future.

“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 last week to replace what has been lost to erosion and to protect the underlying stones, however heavy rainfall has affected the repaired area. 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.”

In response to our reader’s concerns they added: “We intend to use locally sourced turf and grass seed to conclude the works, which will require a short period of time to bed in.

“The timeframe for completion of the works is Easter, however, this may be affected by further inclement weather. 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.”