Old Norse for “Stone Headland,” the towering Standing Stones of Stenness are truly giant, some shooting up to 19 feet tall. Recent research suggests that the stones, only four of which remain, could date back to 3300 BC, making them quite possible the oldest standing stones in the British Isles.
Pronounced “Stane-is” in the lilting Orcadian dialect, the standing stones are less than a mile from the younger Ring of Brodgar, both of which are part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage site.
On a narrow strip of land between the lochs of Harray and Stenness, the Stone Age function of Stenness is still unknown, but it is thought that the stone circle may have been used in ceremonies to celebrate the relationship between the living and past communities.
Entrance to the Standing Stones of Stenness is free, and the site is open all day every day, perfect for those sunset silhouette photos. The site is about a 10-minute drive from Stromness along the B9055, and in summer, there are Stagecoach buses from Kirkwall and Stromness to the standing stones.