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Clach an Trushal

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Clach an Trushal</b>Posted by greywetherImage © greywether
Also known as:
  • The Thrushel Stone
  • Clach an Truiseal
  • Clach an Truiseil

Nearest Town:Port Nis (19km NE)
OS Ref (GB):   NB376538 / Sheet: 8
Latitude:58° 23' 37.93" N
Longitude:   6° 29' 28.14" W



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Fieldnotes

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Visited 31.5.12

It’s certainly a whopper!

The stone is sign posted and very easy to access and stands in its own small patch of land. The stone is covered in the light green ‘hairy’ lichen.

I am pleased to say that the rusting cars etc have been removed and the area around the stone was clear of crap.

There are good coastal views to be had from the stone. Definitely one to visit.
Posted by CARL
5th July 2012ce

Oh dear! The largest standing stone in Scotland; a bit of a tourist trap perhaps as well as a mecca for megalith hunters. Maybe, even, a second Callanish.

So what do you find when you get there? Well it's signposted from the road but then you drive through a very unattractive area with rusting cars. And then no information at the stone itself. Doesn't even say how big it is.

Given the good record of information boards located at other sites, you might have thought that the Lewis authorities would want to talk this one up a bit.

And there is a story to tell - apart from its height. See the Folklore and Miscellaneous postings here.

Now this absence of information should not have affected our visit since we had all the stuff from Canmore. Yet, somehow, I did not get the buzz from this site that others clearly have although I did enjoy searching around for the "lost stone circle".

Visited 31 July 2004
greywether Posted by greywether
14th August 2004ce
Edited 14th August 2004ce

This destroyed stone circle was rediscovered by Ron and Margaret Curtis on 19th September 2002 and documented in the Council for Scottish Archaeology publication Discovery and Excavation Scotland Volume 3 2002. Additional details are included in my web log Two "New" Stone Circles (Re) Discovered On Lewis.

Joolio
Joolio Geordio Posted by Joolio Geordio
1st June 2004ce
Edited 11th October 2004ce

Ooooh, I really liked this site! We had spent the previous day at various sites of stone circles, so to come across this monster menhir was quite refreshing....I think of all the sites on Lewis, this was my favourite, just for the pure majesty of it. We were followed up the path by an aged labrador who seemed happy for us to be in his territory, and the backdrop of the sea and the sky was just awesome.

After the complexity of Callinish and its sister sites, the single huge monlith seemed understated and yet even more impressive.

Shame someone has seen fit to open a haulage site right next to the stone though!
Vicster Posted by Vicster
21st August 2003ce

Clach an Trushal Standing Stone, Lewis
22/7/94
We stopped off here on our way up to the Butt of Lewis on a rather blustery and overcast day- nothing like an enormous standing stone to cheer ya up! This monster is one of the tallest in Scotland and is approx 6 metres tall and covered in a fine array of lichen.
Posted by Martin
8th September 2001ce

A beast of a stone, mysterious to me for its lack of horizonal or land-based monuments. What purpose does such a massive block serve? Covered in utterly amazing sheets of moss and lichen, which were lushly dripping with rainwater when I visited. Posted by gyrus
27th August 2000ce

Folklore

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Leabhar na Feinne (1872) by J F Campbell.

This book of Gaelic ballads includes one called 'Laoidh an Truisealaich' . It is "an imaginary conversation with a great standing Stone" and "Murray, the reciter, asserts that it was the custom in his youth to recite this 'Lay of the Truiseal Stone,' near the butt of Lewis in Shawbost."

It's quite long so if your Gaelic is up to it you may read it at
http://www.archive.org/stream/leabharnafeinne00campgoog#page/n239/mode/1up
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th April 2011ce

According to p270 of 'A pronouncing Gaelic dictionary' of 1833 by Neil McAlpine (online at Google books), 'Truiseil' means 'lascivious'. Maybe that's why other writers have said they don't know what it means - it's too rude for polite society. Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th June 2007ce

The stone and a poem connected with it are mentioned in 'Footprints of Early Man' by Donald A. Mackenzie, 1909 (online at google books) but there's not much mention of the source:
A standing stone 20 1/2 feet high and 6 1/2 feet broad, with a notch at one side near the top, is situated 80 feet above the sea-level and facing the Atlantic on the west coast of Lewis. It can be seen far out at sea, and it [..] may have been a landmark for the guidance of mariners. Seen from a distance it resembles a human hand. Its Gaelic name is "Stone of the Truiseal", but what "Truiseal" means is not known. An old Gaelic poem asks the "great Truiseal":
"Who were the people in thine age?"
but the stone gives a very vague answer, saying it merely "longs to follow the rest" (the ancients), and that it is fixed "on my elbow here in the west".
I found this additional fragment of the poem at
http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/islandblogging/blogs/005132/archive/2006/08.shtml
"The Truiseal stone is reputed to have been a man in by-gone days, who had been turned to stone. A passer-by had heard the stone proclaim in sepulchral tones:

A Truisealach am I after the Fiann;
Long is my journey behind the others;
My elbow points to the west
And I am embedded to my oxters.
"
Your oxters are your armpits! so the stone must be very big indeed.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
19th February 2007ce
Edited 19th February 2007ce

I like the idea that this stone was used as a marker for travellers who arrived by sea... an early lighthouse, perhaps?

Mind you, this theory doesn't follow if it was indeed part of a larger complex.
Vicster Posted by Vicster
19th July 2006ce
Edited 20th July 2006ce

Well, coming from Borve along the road and having consulted a few of my fellow locals, it is doubtfull that the battle marker scenario carries weight. Not saying some folks don't hold to it, but as far as I was always told it was a burial marker for a Norwegian princess who was on her way to Ireland to get married. She died on the journey and this is where they buried her at first land sight. Personally, I think that's nonsense as has recently been proven by Joolio Geordio, Curtis etc that it is part of a larger setup. You only have to look at the other large prone stones right beside it to see that. No way was it a menhir. Check out Joolios postings on it anyway. Still an amazing place. Posted by macmegalith
4th June 2004ce
Edited 4th June 2004ce

Clach an Trushal might mean 'stone of compassion', or maybe 'stone of gathering'. It's the largest standing stone on Lewis at 5.8m high and allegedly was erected to mark a victory by the Morisons of Ness over their enemies the MacAulays of Uig.

(I probably read this in Mr Grinsell's 'Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain' (1976)).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th September 2003ce
Edited 30th June 2007ce

Miscellaneous

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Said to once have been surrounded by a stone circle "like at Callanish" but the stones were broken up and incorporated into field walls.

The surrounding field walls certainly contain much larger stones than you normally see in dry stone dykes.

See Canmore NMRS NB35SE1 and Joolio Geordio's weblog at http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/user/1650/weblog/0/28452 for much more information.
greywether Posted by greywether
14th August 2004ce
Edited 14th August 2004ce