Scots Stonehenge shoogly admits creator

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SCOTLAND’S answer to Stonehenge was built shoogly, it has been revealed.

Glasgow’s Sighthill stone circle – built by astronomy enthusiast Duncan Lunan – was meant to align with the rise and fall of the sun and moon in the sky above the city.

In dramatic images beamed across the world the 17 huge stone blocks – weighing up to four tonnes – were dropped into place by RAF helicopter in 1979.

But now – more than 35 years later – Mr Lunan has revealed that the circle has never worked as intended because of small errors made in his calculations.

In all its years as a popular pilgrimage spot for Scots druids and pagans the circle has never aligned with the sun or moon – and no one has ever noticed.

The stone circle today
The stone circle today

 

Mr Lunan said that in the frantic rush to make the calculations before the helicopter arrived some errors were made accounting for “atmospheric refraction” – the change in light as it passes through the atmosphere.

He said: “In ancient times they took generations to took generations to observe the movement of the Sun and Moon before they put the stones up.”

But he was not afforded the luxury of time with his own project, explaining: “There was a rush before the helicopter operation to get the calculations done.

“That particular winter of ‘78/’79 was so bad that we hadn’t got a concrete survey of the skyline until about eight days before.

“It meant that I was required to produce the calculations on my boss’s desk the following morning, and I had to stay up all night.

“The pressure in that last week before the helicopter was very real.”

But it was not until years later – when the stones were an iconic part of the Glasgow skyline and a favourite site for Scots spiritualists – that he became sure his calculations were wrong.

He went on:“The first time I noticed that everything wasn’t exactly right was the midwinter sunset of ‘82.

“It wasn’t a big discrepancy, but it did make me wonder

A helicopter lifts the stones into place in '79
A helicopter lifts the stones into place in ’79

 

“In ‘92 I saw the midsummer sunrise for the first time, and it was really noticeable.

“I was coming to notice that everything was to the right of where I had thought it to be.”

Now the circle is set to be relocated to make way for a new £250m development, part of Glasgow’s bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

And Lunan has revealed that he will be setting his mistake right, by finally aligning the stones perfectly.

He added: ““We do have another site picked out. I’m not at liberty to say where yet, but it is nearby, to preserve the historical links.

“The circle will be regenerated at another site and I will have to do the astronomical work again.

“Basically I now know what to account for.

“I do now know that more calculation is required.”

The Sighthill Circle was built in 1979 – touted as the first astronomically aligned stone circle built in Britain for 3,000 years.

Built at the highest point of Sighthill Park, the stone circle has a vantage point over the surrounding tower blocks of the north-east Glasgow estate.

The project was a result of a local job creation scheme which aimed to give unemployed locals temporary work, easing them into the workforce.

There are 17 stones in the circle – with 16 forming a circle 30 feet across, and the largest four tonne stone in the centre.

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