Helicopter inspiration (1979)

Megalith0083C midwinter sunset incoming, Scotsman

The most memorable images of the construction of the stone circle in 1979 were provided by the involvement of a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter in moving and erecting the standing stones, which had initially come from a quarry in Kilsyth. The incredible vision to make this happen made the construction into an event that was watched by an expectant audience along a path to the south of the park, but also from the windows of the nearby high rise flats, the best seats in the house. The Royal Navy literally called this ‘Operation Megalithic Lift’ and Lunan recounted in his book how an initial plan to erect the stones using prehistoric technology was abandoned. “Using a helicopter was in any case more true to the spirit of the project, in which the ancient principles were being adapted to the modern situation”. Looking at this incredible image taken from right in the middle of the construction site, the choice of machine technology to build the stone circle makes even more sense. Making megaliths was all about creating memories, even in the Neolithic period. This kind of thing does not happen every day, even in Sighthill. This legendary event that almost brought the M8 to a standstill and made the pages of the national press was the first indication of the mythologisation of the stone circle. In an article in Fortean Times 319 (October 2014) Duncan Lunan told writer John Reppion that later it came to be “believed to have been built by the druids, and the local children were afraid of it”. The stones were known locally to some as ‘the cuddies’. There is something magical about this, a monument to science escaping from its original purpose to become a place of pagan rites, stories, mystery, and mischief. Even stones can be organic.