Mid-Winter: Cairns

One of the things I have loved about writing the Blue Bells Chronicles (yes, that was recently the Blue Bells Trilogy), is the research.  In The Water is Wide, book three of The Chronicles, there is a scene set in the Clava Cairns a bit east of Inverness and a mile south of the battlefield of Culloden.

To be more exact, clava cairns are also a specific type of cairn, of which there are approximately 50, named after the Preshistoric Burial Cairns of Balnuaran of Clava.  However, Clava Cairns refers to those at Balnuaran specifically.

Cairns are one of the many fascinating features left to us from the ancients, leaving us mysteries still unsolved.  But one of the fascinating things about the clava cairns is their orientation.  There are three cairns at Bulnuaran.  Of those, the two outer ones have passages aligned with the midwinter sun, such that the setting sun strikes the back wall of the cairn on the shortest day of the year.

Take a virtual tour:




If you're taking a trip to Scotland and will be there during the winter solstice, you might also be interested in the Maeshowe Chambered Cairn on Orkney Island.  It is one of the oldest, best-preserved of Scotland's ancient monuments.  It is believed to have been the tomb of a chieftain, but also of interest is the Norse graffiti left there thousands of years ago, and its alignment with the sun.

For three weeks before and after the winter solstice, the light of sunset strikes the back wall of the chamber, and on the solstice itself, the chamber is flooded with light.

Enjoy some pictures of the Maeshowe Cairn!

Maeshowe, cairns, mysterious Scotland, mysteries, stone circles, stonehenge
At these links:



And, is it cause for rejoicing or sorrow that even our greatest prehistoric sites now have...webcams!  With any luck, you'll read this on time to check in with the webcam as the sunlight hits the chamber. 



COMING SOON:
  • My Emmanuel's Light photography will be on display at Chaska Community Center
  • Watch for a big update regarding January 28, 2016
  • I'll be reading and signing books February 10, 2017 at Magers and Quinn with Genny Kieley
CURRENTLY:
  • There is currently a giveaway going on at my facebook page for a Team Shawn or Team Angus t-shirt.  Leave a comment here or there to be entered.  HURRY!
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