Just across the isthmus from the Ring of Brodgar, the standing stones of Stenness have an imposing, mysterious presence, although, in my experience, it is a very comfortable place to be. I’ve been here at the extremes: in snow, and on a glorious sunny day in late spring lying on the short-cropped grass between the stones, just soaking it in.
Today, only 4 giants stand – they are up to 6m tall – from the original 12. Experts believe it may be the oldest henge site in the British isles, although the surrounding henge has mostly been lost over the centuries.
A handful of sheep keep the grass nibbled short, while swans congregate on the Loch of Stenness beyond.
To the west, on the isthmus leading to the Ring of Brodgar, is the Watchstone, a tall, imposing, monolith. It is photographed here from the Stenness stones, looming out from the mist on an otherwise calm and mild May day.