Machrie Moor landscape for Stellarium

After visiting a client on Arran a couple of weeks ago, I took the opportunity for a quick visit to Machrie Moor, which is about the closest thing Scotland has to a megalithic theme park. There are at least five sites in the complex, all very close together but of very different designs, as though the builders were experimenting to find out what worked best. One of the sites in particular has some spectacularly tall megaliths of a wonderful red sandstone – you can see some of these in the distance if you look to the north-east in this Stellarium landscape – while others are positively elfin by comparison.

This is Machrie Moor 5, to use the official nomenclature; I don’t know if it has a more poetic name. It’s the first site you come to when visiting the main complex, and is a lovely double-concentric ring of grey-white stones with some beautiful views over towards the Mull of Kintyre in the West.

MAchrie Moor 5

Normally when taking a panorama for a Stellarium landscape, it is best to establish a long baseline using GPS fixes so that you can later calculate an accurate azimuth to get the panorama lined up properly. In this case, I had forgotten how long it takes to walk to the complex from the road (a good half an hour) and by the time I got to the stones I was worried about having enough time to get back to Brodick for the last ferry, so I settled for taking a reading for East with the trusty Suunto compass, shooting the panorama, and beating a hasty retreat to the car. No time for any dowsing, nor time to visit any of the other circles. I did remember to take a GPS fix in the circle however,  so the latitude, longitude and altitude settings are accurate.

Consequently, this may not be as accurately aligned as my Callanish landscape, but hopefully that won’t spoil your enjoyment of it. As always, you can download it from the Stellarium landscapes page (you’ll also need Stellarium, of course), or from a selection of other stone circle landscapes over at The Geomancy Group.

If you use this, or my other Stellarium landscapes, I’d love to hear what you think of them. Please leave a comment.

Grahame Gardner
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